The Fort Madison School District's search for a new superintendent came to an end when the school board selected Erin Slater to lead the district, starting July 1. Slater is the assistant superintendent for curriculum and education in District 45 in Villa Park, Ill.
President Timm Lamb said the finalists, Slater and Chad Garber, who is the Superintendent of the Wapsie Valley school district in Fairbank, Iowa, did outstanding jobs during their day-long interviews with community focus groups and the school board. Lamb said it came down to the board having a better connection with Slater.
"It was a really tough decision," said Lamb. "I don't think anyone gave any 'wow' answers that made them stand out from the other one. I think it was just, from looking at the interview group's comments and our comments, there was a comfortable feeling in talking with Erin that was a little more comfortable than the feeling from talking with Dr. Garber."
Lamb said he appreciated Slater's plans for better promoting and marketing what is going on within the Fort Madison School District.
"She talked a lot about how she wanted to communicate with administrators, how she wanted to communicate with teachers, and how she wanted to get actively involved in the community," said Lamb. "So the people in the community knew who she was, what she did, and felt comfortable talking to her and to come see her."
The vote to offer the job to Slater was unanimous.
Lamb said, soon after, Slater accepted the district's offer of a two-year contract with a starting salary of $170,000. He said while it is a two-year deal, it will be reviewed annually.
Slater will replace Ken Marang, who has been Fort Madison's superintendent for about a decade. Marang is retiring at the end of June. Lamb said Slater will finish the year at her current school, but she plans to be in Fort Madison when possible.
"She has already talked to us about coming down a couple of times and taking part in board meetings with us and wants to come down, when she can work it in, to get used to what is going on in the district and doing some community things so the community can start to know who she is, so she is already starting to make plans on how to get involved in the next few months before her contract actually starts."