Have your apples ready.
There's a new assistant superintendent in Fort Dodge, and his name is Robert Hughes.
Hughes joins the Fort Dodge Community School District after spending 12 years in his native Lime Springs, where he was an administrator of two elementary school buildings and a curriculum coordinator.
-Messenger photo by Brandon L. Summers
Robert Hughes, right, new Fort Dodge Community School District assistant superintendent, already at work on his first week, meets with Scott Kehrberg, Senior High teacher and Fort Dodge Education Association president.
As assistant superintendent, Hughes replaces Pam Rodewald, retiring human resources director.
"I'll be the connection from central office out to all of the buildings to reinforce and bring connections to the district," he said.
According to Hughes, the human resources director position was expanded to compliment the growing school district.
"With all the great things Fort Dodge schools are doing, we felt it was a necessity to go ahead and increase that position to an assistant superintendent," he said. "So I'm in charge of personnel services along with administrative services."
Hughes said he's excited about his new position.
"I think it will be a wonderful opportunity to bring people together and to continue to build on the strong practices that are going on in the Fort Dodge schools," he said.
Hughes said he was impressed by the school district, particularly how almost 50 percent of the staff have a master's or other advanced degree.
"It attests to the staff's commitment to high quality education, not only for the kids, but for themselves, so they can deliver higher quality students," he said. "I'm starting to feel the pride Fort Dodge schools have."
Hughes said student achievement is as high a priority for him as it is for the district, and said he wants to see it continue increasing.
Primarily, Hughes will serve as a link between the superintendent and the schools.
"I'll be the connection for a lot of the principals to make sure there's a direct line of communication into the central office. So I'll be mentoring and assisting as much as possible, both in the field but also out of the central office," he said. "I'm very excited about that."
This isn't the first time the assistant superintendent position has existed, but in its current guise it is an evolving position, Hughes said, one he is learning with the help of the district staff.
"I have a wonderful staff to work with there in the office, who have a lot of years of experience, which greatly helps my transition into the district," he said.
Hughes has been in Fort Dodge for nearly two weeks, and will soon be joined by his family. In the meantime, he's getting oriented.
"The people are very warm and friendly, and have been extremely helpful," he said. "We're very appreciative to the kindness of Fort Dodge residents."
District Superintendent Doug Van Zyl said Hughes was a good addition to the district.
"We're very excited to have Robert here with us," he said. "I think he brings a lot of different skills and the personality and work demeanor that we'd like to have. He's already hit the ground running."
Hughes likewise had complimentary words for Van Zyl.
"He's very genuine, very straight-forward, and has strong energy and enthusiasm to see the best education possible for the kids in the district," he said.
Hughes started July 11, the day he introduced himself to the Fort Dodge Community School Board at its regular meeting.
"I've made connections with a lot of central office staff. I've met with almost half of the administrative team. And I'll go through and meet with all the principals," he said.
Already at work, Hughes is now involved in the process of hiring five needed associates before the school year starts.
Contact Brandon L. Summers at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org