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Board Members

Sheri BensonDistrict 1
Sheri Benson
1209 W. 16th Street S., #205
Newton, IA 50208
(641) 417-0226

School Districts Represented: Baxter, Bondurant-Farrar, Carlisle, Colfax-Mingo, Collins-Maxwell, Lynnville-Sully, Newton, PCM, Southeast Polk
Joined Heartland AEA Board: 2014
Term Expires: 2019

Sheri Benson is an active community volunteer serving in a number of volunteer roles for the Newton community. She is also a member of the Newton Community Schools' Board of Education; serving from 2006 through 2010 and from 2012 to the present. Sheri has also served on the United Way board, SCORE, the Newton Transformation Council, Pastoral Council of Sacred Heart Parish, OPEN Sister City and Jasper County Wellness Coalition. Broader volunteer activities include the Pastoral Council and the Board of Education for the Diocese of Davenport. Sheri holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and a bachelor's degree in liberal studies, both from the University of Oklahoma. 


Steve RoseDistrict 2
Steve Rose

306 W. First Avenue
Indianola, IA 50125
(515) 979-2351

School Districts Represented: Earlham, Indianola, Interstate 35, Knoxville, Melcher-Dallas, Pella, Pleasantville, Southeast Warren, Twin Cedars, Van Meter, West Central Valley, Winterset
Joined Heartland AEA Board: 1996
Term Expires: 2019

Steve Rose is a retired professor of education at Simpson College, where he coordinated the secondary education program, including teaching in the M.A.T. program. He was a member of the Simpson faculty for over 20 years. Prior to his time at Simpson, he was an education faculty member at Sterling College in Sterling, Kans., and he worked in the Lexington (Nebr.) Public Schools for 10 years. Steve earned an Ed.D. in administration, curriculum and instruction from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and he holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor of arts degree in English and sociology, both from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

District 3
Margie Schwenk

1052 Chestnut Road
Coon Rapids, IA 50058
(712) 830-3893

School Districts Represented: Adair-Casey, Adel-DeSoto-Minburn, Audubon, Carroll, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton, Glidden-Ralston, Guthrie Center, Panorama, Perry, Waukee
Joined Heartland AEA Board: 2018
Term Expires: 2021

Margie Schwenk is retired from a 41-year career in education. During four decades of service, she was a middle school teacher, gifted and talented teacher/program director and director of curriculum and professional learning, all for the Coon Rapids-Bayard Community School District. Margie earned her master’s degree in educational leadership from Drake University, a bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy and science from the College of St. Mary in Omaha and a bachelor’s degree in education and philosophy from Iowa State University. On a statewide basis, she served as an evaluator for the Regents Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure program and as a gifted and talented consultant and curriculum specialist.     

Bruce ChristensenDistrict 4
Bruce Christensen

4301 68th Street
Urbandale, IA 50322
(515) 276-2238

School Districts Represented: Boone, Dallas Center-Grimes, Johnston, Madrid, Ogden, Urbandale, Woodward-Granger
Joined Heartland AEA Board: 2007
Term Expires: 2021

Bruce Christensen is a retired elementary principal, last serving the Urbandale Community School District. He served as a principal at four different elementary schools from 1974-2006. Bruce also served as a teacher in a Lutheran school and as a director of Christian education. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Concordia University in Seward, Nebr., and a specialist in education degree from Drake University. While he was a principal, Bruce was elected to the Board of Directors of the Iowa North Central Association and the district presidency of the Iowa Association of Elementary Principals.

photo of John KinleyDistrict 5
John Kinley

3311 Harrison Road
Ames, IA 50010
(515) 233-3824

School Districts Represented: Ames, Ballard, Colo-Nesco, Gilbert, Nevada, Roland-Story, United
Joined Heartland AEA Board: 2015
Term Expires: 2019

John Kinley was an educator for 40 years, beginning as a high school social studies teacher, then spending 15 years as a middle school principal. He rounded out his career by serving as the superintendent at the South Hamilton, Hubbard-Radcliffe and Gilbert school districts for a combined 11 years. Since retirement he served a one-year position as an interim co-principal at St. Cecilia School in Ames, and he is currently the director of the Story County Consortium, a partnership of Story County Schools to provide learning opportunities for the county's high school students in career/technical education. He has also been a lecturer in the Iowa State University (ISU) School of Education and served on other community boards.

John is a Cyclone through and through, holding a superintendent certification, a master of science degree in education administration and a bachelor of science degree in distributed studies, all from ISU.

Pete EvansDistrict 6
Pete Evans

1402 N.W. 2nd Street
Ankeny, IA 50023
(515) 965-8985

School Districts Represented: Ankeny, Des Moines, North Polk, Saydel
Joined Heartland AEA Board: 2013
Term Expires: 2021

Pete Evans is a lecturer at Iowa State University in the Department of Architecture, a position he has had since August 2009. He teaches studio, courses in architecture design and additional design and communication courses in the College of Design including a hybrid digital design and communication course based on advanced tools for thinking and making and a course integrating virtual prototyping with augmented and virtual reality.

Pete is also the owner of spatialP, a consulting business that specializes in architecture, design/fabrication, digital content creation and design tools and technology. He has been a practicing architect in central Iowa since 2001. Since 2007 Pete has volunteered his time to assist the national American Institute of Architects' Technology in Architectural Practice program. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and received a bachelor's degree in architecture from Iowa State University in 1995.

Earl BridgewaterDistrict 7
Earl Bridgewater

4117 S.W. 28th Street
Des Moines, IA 50321
(515) 285-5258

School Districts Represented: Des Moines
Joined Heartland AEA Board: 1998
Term Expires: 2021

Earl Bridgewater is a retired high school principal and associate superintendent with the Des Moines Public Schools. He is currently an instructor in Iowa for Viterbo University. Earl earned a Ph.D. from Iowa State University, his master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and his bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University.

Margaret BorgenDistrict 8
Margaret Borgen

2504 Forest Drive
Des Moines, IA 50312
(515) 243-2400

School Districts Represented: Des Moines
Joined Heartland AEA Board: 2007
Term Expires: 2019

Margaret Borgen is a former middle school and high school teacher and director of an alternative high school. She also served on the Des Moines Public Schools’ Board of Education for nine years, and she is a past member of the Iowa Association of School Boards’ Board of Directors, having also served as the Boards president. In previous years she was the president of the Des Moines Council of PTAs and the Iowa PTA and was vice president of the National PTA. Margaret received her bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University.

photo of Elizabeth BrennanDistrict 9
Elizabeth Brennan

804 38th Street
West Des Moines, IA 50265
(515) 222-6920

School Districts Represented: Des Moines, Martensdale-St. Marys, Norwalk, West Des Moines
Joined Heartland AEA Board: 2015
Term Expires: 2019

Elizabeth (Liz) Brennan is a current member of the West Des Moines Schools’ Board of Education and has served in many volunteer positions throughout the West Des Moines district. She serves on the Iowa Association of School Boards’ Legislative Resolution Committee and is also a board member of BANK, a community bank based in eastern Iowa. Brennan graduated from St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.) with a bachelor of arts degree in French and later earned her teaching degree, with an ESL endorsement, from the University of Iowa. She also earned her international diploma in early childhood teaching from Montessori Centre International (London, England). Liz is currently a teacher at Montessori Children’s House in West Des Moines.  

Board Officers
   President: John Kinley
   Vice President: Sheri Benson
   Chief Administrative Officer: Jon Sheldahl
   Secretary: Jenny Ugolini
   Treasurer: Kurt Subra

© 2019 Heartland AEA 11. All Rights Reserved.