Hughes will serve Aplington-Parkersburg, Grundy Center

When Rob Hughes first moved to the Fort Dodge Community School District eight years ago to serve as assistant superintendent, construction was just beginning on the Fort Dodge Middle School.

And since that time Hughes has been part of numerous developments to help improve the district, including recruiting and hiring talented teachers that serve the students of Fort Dodge schools.

On Thursday it was announced that Hughes will be taking his skillset to serve as a shared superintendent between the Aplington-Parkersburg School District and Grundy Center School District. He will begin those duties July 1.

“What really attracted me to Aplington-Parkersburg and Grundy Center was that it’s located over in the Cedar Valley area, in northeast Iowa, which is closer to my extended family,” Hughes said. “One of my daughters lives in North Liberty, the other daughter lives in Cedar Falls. It puts us in a lot closer to location to our family.”

Dr. Jesse Ulrich, FDCSD superintendent, said he appreciates Hughes’ contributions to the district.

“I’m happy for Mr. Hughes both personally and professionally,” Ulrich said. “As a district, we are appreciative of his eight years of loyal service to the students and staff of Fort Dodge. I wish him well in his professional advancement.”

Prior to his move to Fort Dodge, Hughes worked for Howard-Winneshiek Schools as a building and central office administrator. He has also been an art educator for Calamus-Wheatland, Washington, Central Clinton and West Liberty. Hughes holds degrees and certifications from UNI in educational leadership and art education from the School of Art Institute in Chicago.

The opportunity to become superintendent is a seemingly natural progression for Hughes.

He’s looking forward to serving the two districts.

“It’s two very good districts,” he said. “They have a rich tradition of success. It’s a wonderful professional advancement for me to move over into the superintendency of these two shared districts.”

While in Fort Dodge, Hughes partnered with former FDCSD superintendent, Dr. Doug Van Zyl, on the districtwide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports and Rachel’s Challenge.

Rachel’s Challenge is a nationwide program based on the writings of Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

The program emphasizes performing kind acts and starting a chain reaction of kindness.

“When I think back to that, those initiatives were very meaningful to build relationships with students and build strong positive behaviors,” he said.

Hughes was also part of the district’s efforts to pass the general obligation bond that led to the construction of the new Duncombe Elementary School.

“It was exciting to see the Duncombe bond issue passed, along with all the safety and security,” Hughes said. “From a community standpoint, it has been fabulous to work with emergency response, and develop the emergency operations plan, the EOP plan.”

He added, “It’s a great group, including the sheriff’s department, the police department, emergency response, fire department, hospital. We have come together on a monthly basis and really been able to develop collaborative plans and strong built relationships that will really assist us if ever there is a necessity to respond to an issue. That has been really powerful in my mind and for the district.”

Hughes primary experience was dealing with personnel matters.

“We tried to be as proactive in recruiting and hiring the best teachers and staff members as possible,” Hughes said. “We have also invested a lot of time in career fairs and assisting our staff in developing their skills. We have apprenticeships where we have seen paraeducators move up into teaching roles by getting their certification from state. We have also seen a lot of connection to industry and seeing career technology educators go into place.”

Hughes said he has appreciated all of the opportunities afforded to him in Fort Dodge.

“There’s a lot of things we treasure and there’s a lot of hidden treasures, whether that’s the bike trials, the waterways, the parks, but most importantly it’s really about the people. We have really loved and appreciated all that Fort Dodge has had to offer us.”


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