Female school superintendents more common in area

With the recent hiring of Jill Herink as superintendent of the Meskwaki Settlement School, the total school superintendents who are female in the area has now reached five.

Other area female school leaders include Dianne Anderson at East Marshall, Nicole Kooiker at West Marshall, Cassi Murra at Grundy Center and Kerri Nelson at South Tama.

Kooiker is in her first year on the job at West Marshall while Anderson is in her second at East Marshall. Both of them are the first female superintendents ever to lead their respective school districts.

Kooiker said as a female in a leadership role it can be harder to earn the respect and trust of people.

“It’s an adjustment,” Kooiker said.

Her strategy to combat that is to get herself out in the community and introduce herself to as many people as she can.

“I still think it’s about building relationships and proving to people you can effectively lead,” Kooiker said.

The trend toward an increase in female school superintendents has spanned statewide.

According to information from the Iowa Department of Education, 15 percent of the of full-time school superintendents in the state were female as of the 2011-12 school year. That number is nearly triple the 5.8 percent mark of female school superintendents for the 2000-2001 school year.

“It might be increasing, but it’s still a low percentage,” Kooiker said.

Herink said the trend for more females is not exclusive to just the field of education, as it’s happening in the business field as well.

“It seems to be a trend in all of management,” Herink said.