Sara Fitzgerald named next Feelhaver principal

New leader will replace Nancy Cross

-Sara Fitzgerald

Sara Fitzgerald, an instructional coach and new teacher mentor at Fort Dodge Middle School, will be taking her talents to Feelhaver Elementary School next fall.

The Fort Dodge Community School District announced Fitzgerald as Feelhaver’s next principal Wednesday night.

She will replace Nancy Cross, who resigned effective at the end of the school year to move closer to family.

Fitzgerald will be paid an annual salary of $95,000.

She said her experience with both new and veteran teachers should serve her well as principal.

“In my current role as an instructional coach, I work with new teachers and teachers who are new not only to the profession, but new to our district,” Fitzgerald said. “I work with our veteran teachers who are looking for ways to constantly improve and grow professionally. Moving into a position as a building leader will be an asset to the work we will continue as a district, and help to support teachers as they refine and grow their practices in order to impact our students and community.”

Fitzgerald, a native of Epworth, has lived in Fort Dodge for about 18 years.

“I think that during my time in the district I’ve grown to love everything about our schools and the community of Fort Dodge,” she said. “It’s really just become home to me. Feelhaver has always been known for their family-like feel and sense of community. I am definitely lucky to be joining such an amazing team. The dedicated staff, involved families, and hard-working students are what make Feelhaver a great place to work and learn and grow.”

Fitzgerald has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Buena Vista University. She holds a Master of Arts in teaching from Morningside College. Her administrative certification is through the Iowa Principal Leadership Academy.

Prior to becoming an instructional coach, Fitzgerald taught sixth grade language arts at Fair Oaks Middle School and seventh grade reading at Fort Dodge Middle School.

“Mrs. Fitzgerald has an exceptional knowledge of teaching and learning, along with a quiet, persistent passion for serving students and supporting teachers,” Dr. Jesse Ulrich, FDCSD superintendent, said. “Combining her strong instructional leadership with the great staff that exists at Feelhaver will create an amazing educational experience for our kids.”

Fitzgerald said she’s driven by her passion for education.

“I am a lifelong learner,” she said. “I love learning, reading, and staying on top of what’s new and what the best practices in education are. I am passionate about the work I do. I love kids, I love learning, I love teaching.”

Fitzgerald said she will work to create an atmosphere that is inviting to both staff and students.

“I think Feelhaver is already an amazing school,” she said. “My goal is to ensure that it’s an atmosphere where everyone, both staff and students are leaders and learners, who strive every day to be better than they were the day before. I think it’s about taking care of everyone every day and doing whatever it takes to do so.”