Shane Wahls hired as Clayton Ridge superintendent

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After six years as middle and elementary school principal, Shane Wahls has been hired as Clayton Ridge Superintendent of Schools. He will also continue to serve as middle school principal. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

It has been a challenging and exciting year for the Clayton Ridge School District, made more so by the departures of high school principal Kris Einck and superintendent Allan Nelson. The school board has filled both positions – one with a familiar face, and one with someone new to the district.

Middle school and elementary principal Shane Wahls has been promoted to superintendent after six years in the district. Wahls is a Garnavillo High School graduate who student taught under Brian Sorenson at Guttenberg High School. He received his bachelor’s of science degree from Upper Iowa University, where he majored in secondary education in the area of biology. Wahls earned a master’s degree in administration and principal certification from the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. Most recently, he completed the University of Northern Iowa’s superintendency program.

“In my new position, I will continue to serve as the middle school principal and will also serve as the superintendent of the district. I plan to be at the middle school every other day and at the Guttenberg campus on opposite days,” said Wahls. “I plan to be visible and available in all three buildings.”

Wahls is an experienced educator with a diverse background. He taught middle school science for two years at an inner-city school in Houston, Texas, as well as serving for one year in Postville. He also has 12 years experience as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at Wyalusing Academy, a juvenile treatment facility in Prairie du Chien, Wis. 

“After being a principal for several years, I decided that I would really like to pursue the superintendency. I have always enjoyed being a leader and am excited to be able to do this at the district level,” Wahls told The Press. “Clayton Ridge is an outstanding district and I look forward to serving the school community.”

While serving as the Clayton Ridge elementary and middle school principal, Wahls has continued to work in the classroom. During the most recent school year, he co-taught a writer’s workshop and taught seventh grade art. “I believe that art helps develop varied interests, skills and obviously creativity that produce more well-rounded students,” he says of the experience.

Wahls was also in charge of a middle school advisory group and taught two math interventions to second graders at the elementary during the past school year. “These were wonderful opportunities for me to stay connected to students and helped me have a greater appreciation for the work of our teachers and the needs of our students,” he said. “I will miss these opportunities next year, but hope to establish some routines and schedules that would allow me to return to the classroom the following year.”

Outside of teaching, Wahls enjoys spending time with his wife Hilary and their four children, Nicole (16), Brandon (14), Brent (13), and Brodie (11). His hobbies are horseback riding, lifting weights, and working with student athletes to help them meet their fitness goals, 

Wahls expects to address the recently rejected bond referendum for a school facility upgrade with thoroughness. “I plan to take the next school year to do an in-depth study of the facility planning improvements that are needed in the future for Clayton Ridge School District. This process will involve the different stakeholders of the school community,” he said.   

Wahls has set the bar high for Clayton Ridge. “I am most looking forward to the future of this district. I have very high goals and expectations and truly believe that we are and will be a model school, in not only Iowa, but in the nation.”

See next week’s paper for an interview with newly-hired elementary and high school principal Andy Peterson.

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