Buck was approved by the Cedar Rapids Board of Education during a special meeting on Wednesday. He will succeed Dr. Dave Benson who is retiring in June after a six-year tenure with the District.
Buck, 45, graduated from Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School in 1987. He went on to earn an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Northern Iowa, and both a Master’s degree and Ph.D. from Iowa State University.
Buck began his career in education as a middle school science teacher in the Ankeny Community School District. He taught for five years before taking on a number of administrative roles in the Waukee, Hudson, and North Mahaska school districts. Buck was serving as Superintendent of the Saydel Community School District when he was named director of the Iowa Department of Education by Branstad on August 6, 2013.
“As a native of Cedar Rapids and a proud graduate of Jefferson High School, I’m thrilled to return to my hometown in this role. It’s clear to me that this is a school district that is committed to innovation and a vision of ‘Excellence for All,’ and I stand ready to be an integral part of delivering on that vision. At the same time, I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve as the director of the Iowa Department of Education, where I’ve worked among passionate, hard-working servants and leaders who have Iowa students’ best interests in their minds and hearts,” Buck said in released statement.
“The Department’s leadership has been essential as Iowa works to implement several ground-breaking initiatives, including the most comprehensive teacher leadership system in the nation and an effort to ensure all Iowa students read well by the end of third grade. These are long-term commitments that are larger than the leadership of one individual. I’m also deeply grateful to Gov. Branstad and members of his staff, to past and present members of the State Board of Education, and to educators across the state. Iowa is focused on the right work to improve instruction and raise student achievement,” Buck added.
“Director Brad Buck has been instrumental in the implementation of Iowa’s transformational education reform, including the Teacher Leadership and Compensation System. We appreciate the service and leadership of Director Buck and wish him the best as he continues his career in education in Cedar Rapids,” Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said in a prepared statement.
“Though we’re disappointed to see Director Buck leave the Iowa Department of Education, we’re pleased Iowa students in the Cedar Rapids school district will benefit from his innovative leadership. I’ve appreciated working with Director Buck on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and appreciate his service to the state,” Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds added.
“We are thrilled to welcome someone of Dr. Buck’s caliber as our superintendent,” said Mary Meisterling, Cedar Rapids School District Board President. “He brings a breadth of leadership experience in many areas such as early literacy, closing the achievement gap, and competency-based education. He is also well-versed in school finance and budgeting. He most closely matched the list of skills and attributes that our community members highlighted during the public forums and through the online input survey. He is truly a wonderful fit!”
Details on the selection process for the next director of the Iowa Department of Education is yet to be released.