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Davenport school board votes to hire T.J. Schneckloth
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DAVENPORT SCHOOLS

Davenport school board votes to hire T.J. Schneckloth

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The Davenport Community School District board has hired its interim superintendent to do the job on a more permanent basis. T.J. Schneckloth, a member of the district staff, has been serving as the interim since October.

The Davenport Community School District board has hired its interim superintendent to do the job on a more permanent basis.

TJ Schneckloth, a member of the district staff, has been serving as the interim since October. He was appointed by the Iowa State Board of Education as part of an ongoing effort to address noncompliance issues identified during state audits of the district's operations. These issues included providing equitable education for Black students.

"As of today, Tuesday, January 26, 2021, T.J. Schneckloth will be taking over the role of superintendent," according to a news release issued by the district. "He will be responsible for day-to-day operations and oversight of the district, but his primary focus will remain on taking action to complete the corrective action plan from the state board." 

The board voted to offer the job to Schneckloth during a special meeting Monday night. The vote was unanimous, with all members of the board present.

Schneckloth is a Davenport native and a graduate of the district who has a tremendous passion for ensuring this district is the best place for children to be educated in a safe and caring environment, the district release said. He is energized, committed and ready to take on the role.

The state board appointed Schneckloth after state education officials argued the district was failing to meet objectives in an action plan designed to bring it into compliance on the citation issues. Concerns included that district status reports on the action plan lacked data or adequate evidence of progress.

At a follow up meeting of the state board in November, Amy J. Williamson, chief of the Iowa Department of Education’s bureau of school improvement, said the district's then most recent status reports to the state had the information needed to reliably measure its progress.

Since Schneckloth took over, much of the district's effort to address the citations has been focused on improving its crisis response and violence prevention procedures, according to reports at the Davenport school and state boards.

This has included establishing a consensus among district staff at every level on the importance of the issue being a priority for the district. It also includes a uniform training for staff that will give them a consistent set of actions to take should violence such as a fight occur at a building.

"T.J. will continue to work swiftly and diligently to complete our corrective action plan and do everything that needs to be done to have a fresh start in the district," Tuesday's release states.

Robert Kobylski, the district’s contracted superintendent, was not fired by the state when Schneckloth was put in charge. He continued with the Davenport schools afterward, but was working off site under the direction of the interim leadership.

Kobylski, however, retired in December, though his contract did not expire until June 30, 2022. The retirement agreement allowed him to enroll in an early retirement program recently adopted by the district.

Schneckloth has served as the interim superintendent once before — after former Superintendent Art Tate resigned and while the district was carrying out the search that resulted in it hiring Kobylski.

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