January 28, 2022 

DECORAH, IA — The Decorah Community School District Board of Education has announced three finalists in its search for the school district’s next superintendent.

The finalists are Daniel Barkel, John Cain, and Dr. Timothy Cronin. Each possesses a strong background and experience in recruiting teachers and staff, demonstrating collaborative leadership, promoting a community of care for students, and effectively communicating with parents, staff, and community members.

Barkel currently serves as superintendent of the MMCRU Community Schools, where he leads two school districts and answers to two elected school boards. In March 2021, the MMC community approved a bond issue, and the district is now in the middle of a major construction project. He prides himself on bringing stability, openness, and a commitment of excellence to educational leadership. Mr. Barkel previously was a principal, counselor, and vocal music teacher at Western Christian High School in Hull, Iowa. 

Currently the elementary school principal in the Bettendorf CSD, Cain has focused on opening up professional development opportunities for staff, building community connections, and using data to serve as a transformational school leader. He has created professional learning communities that allow staff to learn from one another and continue improving on behalf of students. Cain previously served as elementary principal and curriculum director in the Calamus-Wheatland CSD.

Since 2013, Dr. Cronin has served as superintendent of the Central City CSD, which has had a “shared superintendent” arrangement with nearby Dunkerton CSD for the past two years. He has gained key experience and skills related to school finance, human resources, and providing professional development opportunities to staff. Dr. Cronin is also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Iowa and has served in leadership roles on committees for the Grant Wood AEA, Central Rivers AEA, and the Superintendent Leadership Team of the Tri-Rivers Conference. 

The Board of Education has been working with Grundmeyer Leader Services to conduct the search. The process has included a community-wide survey, asking district residents to provide their input on the qualities and characteristics they would like to see in the district’s next leader. The board conducted a first round of interviews the week of January 24. 

As a next step, the board and stakeholder interview teams will conduct final interviews with each of the three finalists the week of February 7. The board plans to then discuss the candidates and reach a final decision soon after the formal interviews.

The new superintendent will begin serving the Decorah Community School District effective July 1, 2022.