Howard begins his duties at South Hamilton

JEWELL – The new superintendent of schools at South Hamilton seems to feel at home there already. “Central Iowa always seems to call,” said Ken Howard of his move from the Remsen-Union school district in northwest Iowa. “And I already knew several people in administration here.” During his career Howard has lived in various parts of the state, and his parents are in Knoxville.

Most recently, Howard spent eight years at Remsen-Union, where he was superintendent and elementary principal for eight years. Other career stops have included teaching kindergarten in Knoxville for six years and on staff for five years at an alternative high school.

But before his 23 years in education, Howard earned a degree in hotel restaurant management and managed a restaurant. Because he always wanted to be a teacher, he returned to college for a B.A. in education at Central College and later earned Master’s and specialist degrees at UNI. Currently Howard is in the doctoral program at the University of South Dakota.

As he said, the location of South Hamilton was attractive to Howard as he considered a move. “And I like the size of the community,” he stated. “This is what I like, when you can get to know the people; they’re not just numbers.”

Howard’s wife Ronda will be joining him soon to live in the superintendent house on school grounds in Jewell. She is also a teacher and may substitute teach once the couple is relocated. They have two children, both grown.

What does Howard see as the biggest challenge in education today?

“The most challenging aspect in rural Iowa education is enrollment,” he said. “That’s tied to finances and providing resources needed plus the requirements from state and federal levels with no additional funding available.”

When asked, Howard doesn’t hesitate answering what he sees as his greatest accomplishment in education. “Seeing kids graduate,” he said. “It’s about kids and seeing them graduate.”

With the first day of school at South Hamilton still nearly a month away, the new superintendent is busy getting accustomed to a new setting, getting acquainted with staff and community members, visiting the four towns in the district to get a lay of the land. But he’s looking forward to the 2014-15 school year:

“School is much more enjoyable when there are kids here,” he said.

“My overall goal is to be a positive influence on the school district and on the community,” Howard said.