Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 16, 2014

Mayer and Thode receive awards

By Xiomara Levsen | May 14, 2014

Two administrators in the Washington Community School District (WCSD) were selected to receive the AEA 10 Administrator of Iowa Awards.
Veta Thode received the Central Office Employee of the Year award and Curt Mayer received the Middle School Principal of the Year award from the School Administrators of Iowa group, said WCSD Superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen.
“It’s a nice honor,” Jorgensen said.
The state is divided into different areas, such as the Grant Wood Area Education Agency, or AEA 10, Jorgensen said. Each district can send in nominations for administration staff. After the nomination, committee members of administrators in the area select the winners.
One of the criteria to be nominated for the award is to be an administrator for five years, Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen nominated Veta for the hard work she does in the district. She has worked in the district since 1998.
“I don’t know if people know how many hats she wears,” he said. “Her primary title is curriculum coordinator, but she also serves as our principal for the ASSURE Center. She’s our homeless coordinator. She also works with the ELL [English Language Learner] teachers. She is our equity coordinator for the district, so I mean she wears a lot of hats and always does so without complaint and does an excellent job.”
Thode also works a lot with the special education department in the district, Jorgensen said.
Mayer was nominated for the work he has done transitioning the district from a junior high to a middle school concept, Jorgensen said.
“[I’m] very pleased with the changes, very pleased with the changes that have happened as a result of that, very pleased with the number of opportunities that has opened up for our kids,” Jorgensen said. “We’ve seen fewer discipline referrals. I think the kids are more engaged and we’re also excited about the fact that next year our middle school is going to be 1:1 computers. He’s worked very hard to implement a lot of change there.”
Mayer has worked in the district for 13 years, Jorgensen said. He was an assistant principal before he became principal of the former junior high school and now Washington Middle School.
“I think being a middle school principal would be a tough job, period,” Jorgensen said. “I would not trade places. It takes a unique person not only to teach middle school but want to be an administrator at a middle school. Curt owns it. He likes that age group of kids.”
Mayer said he didn’t know Jorgensen had nominated him for the award.
“It’s an honor to receive awards, but it comes back to having a great staff,” Mayer said.
He said it isn’t just the teachers but the custodians and the support staff who help to make the middle school a great working place.
“What’s so great about this one [the staff] is you give them the initiative and they go for it,” Mayer said.
Thode was out of the district this morning and couldn’t be reached for comment by press time.
Since Mayer and Thode were selected for administrator of the year awards in AEA 10, they can compete at the state administrator of the year award, Jorgensen said. They will find out about that in July.  


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