Waukee School Board Appoints Next Superintendent, Cindi McDonald

Waukee Board of Education appointed Cindi McDonald, associate superintendent of school improvement, as the next superintendent for Waukee Community School District at the May 9 board meeting.


Cindi McDonald, superintendent of schools


“Our district has needs that other districts don’t have to face. We need a superintendent who is not only able to keep up with the district’s growth but understands what is needed for the district to continue to perform at the same high levels,” Mary Scheve, board president, said. “We believe Cindi and the current administrative team have all of the background and knowledge needed to continuing working together so that the district doesn’t miss a beat during this transition.”

Current superintendent, Dr. David Wilkerson, and McDonald will work together until February 1, 2017, when Wilkerson retires and McDonald officially assumes her new role.

“I am honored to be selected as the successor to Dr. Wilkerson! He’s been an outstanding mentor for nearly 10 years and I feel fortunate to be offered the opportunity to lead Waukee Community School District,” McDonald said. “I look forward to working closely with the Board of Education, administration, staff and community to build on a solid foundation with a focus on student achievement, inquiry and innovation and the development of leadership skills.”

At the April 11 Waukee Board of Education Meeting the Board and Roark Horn, Executive Director for the School Administrators of Iowa, outlined 11 qualities the next superintendent should possess and agreed to first look internally for candidates. Per Section 21.5(I) of the open meetings law, the board interviewed McDonald during a closed session at the April 25 Board Meeting.

McDonald brings more than 30 years of educational experience to the superintendent position. McDonald started her career as a first grade elementary teacher for Orange City Community School District. After eleven years in the classroom and earning her Masters of Education from the University of Northern Iowa, McDonald transitioned to K-5 administration. Over the next nine years McDonald worked as an elementary school principal at Central City, Aplington-Parkersburg and Waukee Community School Districts. While at Waukee Community School District, she was appointed the K-12 Director of Teaching Learning and was instrumental in the implementation of new math curriculum which resulted in significant improvements in student achievement.

From 2007-2011 McDonald served as the Director of Elementary Education for Cedar Falls Community School District. There she earned her Superintendent Endorsement from the University of Northern Iowa. For the last five years, McDonald has served as the district’s associate superintendent. She has worked closely with administration to implement Professional Learning Communities, the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program, The Leader in Me, and APEX programming.

“I’ve had the opportunity to serve the district in a variety of roles since 2003.  As a result, I understand the unique characteristics of Waukee including the importance of staying focused on teaching and learning while, at the same time, managing the rapid growth. Part of what energizes staff in Waukee is a growth mindset, knowing that we have opportunities every day to serve all students at high levels and a collaborative approach to do whatever it takes to ensure students are successful,” McDonald said.

Waukee Community School District has a long history of building leaders. Bruce Kimpston was the district’s director of human resources in 2003, currently serves as the superintendent for Ankeny Community School District. Brad Buck was the associate superintendent for school improvement for the district in 2004 and went on to be the director of the Iowa Department of Education and now serves as superintendent for Cedar Rapids Community School District. Edie Eckles was hired as a full-time curriculum director in 1999. In June of 2006 Eckles left the district to become superintendent at Grinnell Community School District. Duane Magee became the district’s director of human resources in 2009. In July of 2012 Magee became the executive director of the Board of Educational Examiners and in July of 2016 he will become the superintendent for Norwalk Community School District.

“Waukee has a culture of building leaders. We have a great team and appointing Cindi is a way the board can ensure the district continues to be at the forefront of K-12 education,” Wendy Liskey, board member, said.