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Forest City Superintendent Lehmann receives SAI statewide recognition

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Forest City Superintendent Darwin Lehmann, Pat Hobbs

Forest City Superintendent Darwin Lehmann shows plans for a new solar generation array to board of education members on Aug. 9. At right is Pat Hobbs.

Darwin Lehmann, superintendent of the Forest City and Central Springs Community School Districts, is being honored as a nominee for the 2021-22 Iowa Superintendent of the Year award sponsored by the School Administrators of Iowa.

“SAI is pleased to recognize school system leaders who are dedicated to creating meaningful change for the students they serve and their communities,” the association’s executive director Roark Horn said.

Nominated for the award by peers, Lehmann will be recognized by the association. So will Osage and Riceville Community School Districts Superintendent Barb Schwamman, who was also nominated, and Cedar Rapids Superintendent Noreen Bush, who was recently selected as the award recipient.

Lehmann has held numerous leadership positions throughout his tenure in administration with SAI, Central Rivers AEA, as well as within local organizations including economic development and Rotary. He currently serves as an instructor for the Iowa School Finance Leadership Consortium, a superintendent mentor at the University of Northern Iowa, and an adjunct professor in school finance at Drake University. This is in addition to his daily responsibilities as a shared superintendent.

Lehmann’s work to ensure the academic and financial health of both districts as well as his focus on student mental health and staff retention were noted. He has coordinated many partnerships with area businesses and organizations to support and expand opportunities for students. His efforts in shared facility planning with the city of Forest City and Waldorf University have resulted in state-of-the-art athletic and fine arts facilities.

Lehmann has also strengthened the work-based learning and postsecondary opportunities for students by collaborating with Waldorf, NIACC, the Forest City Education Foundation, and area businesses. The new NIACC regional center, the Forest City-based John V. Hanson Career Center, opened its doors to high school students in four school districts this fall.

Lehmann has served as Forest City’s superintendent since 2007. During the 2012-13 school year, he also served as superintendent of the Woden-Crystal Lake School District prior to the two districts merging in 2013. He became a shared superintendent of the Central Springs and Forest City school districts at the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Before joining Forest City, Lehmann held superintendent and principal roles in the Griswold Community School District. He began his career in education as a teacher and coach in the Wahoo School District in Nebraska.

Lehmann holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Midland and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He earned his specialist certificate in educational leadership from Drake University.

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