The Heartland AEA Board of Directors is pleased to officially announce the selection of a new chief administrator for the Agency. Dr. Jon Sheldahl, who is currently the chief administrator of Great Prairie AEA in Burlington, will succeed Dr. Paula Vincent when she retires after an almost 40-year career in education, including the past seven years as chief administrator at Heartland AEA.
“The Board and I are excited to have Dr. Sheldahl join the Heartland AEA family,” said John Kinley, president of the Heartland AEA board of directors. “He brings a depth of experience with the statewide AEA system and has tremendous passion for the work that Iowa’s AEAs do across the state. We are confident he will continue the great work and positive culture of our agency and will bring a level of experience that will help us further enhance the services we provide to students, children, families and educators in our area.”
As the chief administrative officer of Heartland AEA, Sheldahl will oversee over 660 full and part-time staff members who provide special education services, instructional services, professional learning, library and digital resources, technology support and more to over 150,000 students and 9,300 educators throughout the 11 central Iowa counties the Agency serves.
Sheldahl has been the chief administrator at Great Prairie AEA since July 2011, and prior to this position, he was the superintendent of the Ottumwa Schools for five years. His career also includes experience as associate superintendent in Ottumwa, superintendent of the Stuart-Menlo Schools and West Central Valley Schools in Stuart and principal at Oak Street Middle School in Burlington. Sheldahl earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Northern Arizona University.
Sheldahl was selected for the position after the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates conducted a nationwide search. The two-month search yielded 25 candidates for the position, and two rounds of interviews were held in April. Sheldahl will assume the responsibilities of chief administrator on July 3, 2017.
“I have great respect for Heartland AEA,” Sheldahl said. “In my experience, Heartland AEA staff members have a sense of clarity about their work and a commitment to their mission. I have a deep appreciation for the strength and talent of staff and leadership at Heartland, and I’m excited to join the team and get started.”