New Cedar Rapids Superintendent will start in April

Dr. Tawana Grover
Dr. Tawana Grover(KCRG)
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 3:47 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The new superintendent of Cedar Rapids Schools will start in April, about 3 months earlier than initially planned but exact financial details are unclear.

The agenda for Monday’s meeting of the Cedar Rapids School Board includes an item to name Dr. Tawana Grover as the district’s interim superintendent. Also on the agenda is accepting the resignation of the current interim superintendent, Art Sathoff. Both items are on the consent agenda, meaning they are not slated to be debated or discussed at the meeting. The district said the agreements with both Dr. Grover and Sathoff would not be available until after the board vote on Monday.

The board had previously hired Dr. Grover as superintendent, approving a contract for her to start in July at an annual salary of $305,000.

Dr. Grover is able to start early because she had resigned mid-year from her previous job as superintendent of schools in Grand Island, Nebraska. She resigned from that position in December with an agreement for Grand Island to pay her for the rest of this school year and an additional $294,000 salary for next school year.

Dr. Grover’s resignation came shortly after a PAC successfully ran a campaign to unseat three school board members. Dr. Grover had fired the man who started that PAC, Jeremy Jensen, for sharing student survey data about culture and climate in schools on social media. He then criticized Dr. Grover and the Grand Island School Board for a lack of transparency and for hiding issues with teacher satisfaction. Jensen then started the PAC and the resulting election removed a majority of school board members.

Sathoff’s tenure in Cedar Rapids was plagued with controversy. School board members questioned the process of his selection as interim without an open search or interview process. The staff raised questions about his religious preachings in his work as a church pastor, which included sermons against evolution and same-sex marriage. Sathoff had just retired as Superintendent of Indianola schools and only reported in person to Cedar Rapids a couple of days a week, doing most work remotely while collecting a $167,000 salary. It is unclear if he will still be paid that full salary while resigning 3 months earlier than expected.

Cedar Rapids superintendent search came about after the death of the previous superintendent, Noreen Bush, in October following a prolonged battle with cancer.