Trent Grundmeyer
Trent Grundmeyer
September 25, 2013



CARROLL

A passion for education and people prompted Trent Grundmeyer to contact Carroll Community School District superintendent Rob Cordes when a family member mentioned that Carroll High School was without a principal following the abrupt resignation of Steve Haluska two weeks into the new school year.

Grundmeyer, the 2013 Iowa Secondary Principal of the Year, recently took job as a professor at Drake University after spending more than a decade in high school education and administration. Only a few months out, he already missed the interactions with teachers and students, the culture of sports' Friday night lights and rousing school spirit.

"I'd find myself driving by some of the high schools around just trying to get a glimpse and capture some of that spirit back," he said. "There are a lot of challenges in education, but the people part is definitely something I miss quite a bit."

From Oelwein, Grundmeyer graduated high school in 1999. He attended Buena Vista University in Storm Lake before beginning his career as a middle-school health teacher in Waukee, where he taught for three years while completing his master's degree in education at Drake University. He moved on to become the principal of Hampton-Dumont High School in north-central Iowa, where he worked for four years while completing his superintendent's degree and starting a doctoral program at Iowa State University. In 2010, he became principal at Indianola High School. Grundmeyer finished his doctorate in May 2012 and continued serving the district until he accepted a position as an educational leadership professor this year.

While his work at Drake involves interaction with colleagues and adult students, Grundmeyer said, his duties now include research and writing. While he enjoys these less people-oriented duties, working with high school students remains a passion. With a few words of encouragement from his wife, Angela Rowedder, a 2002 Carroll High School graduate, Grundmeyer emailed his resume to Cordes.

"It sounds like there is an avenue to help support students and teachers here," he said.

Though he cannot give the board as much time as they would prefer, he will be at the high school two or three days a week. As consultant to the assistant principal, his priorities include building relationships with the staff, assisting with teacher evaluations, professional development and managerial duties, supporting the integration of technology into the classrooms, and eventually transitioning a new principal into the role.

"I like to have my hands on the pulse of all the different avenues," he said. "That's the way you affect a school the most."

Grundmeyer will not apply for the principal position. He said he has no interest in continuing in the Carroll district beyond this school year, stating that he needs the flexibility of his schedule at Drake to be home for his family. He and Angela have three young children, 4-year-old Grace, 3-year-old Faith and 10-month-old Truman. Angela is a physician assistant in Des Moines.

However, Grundmeyer said the temporary nature of the position will not affect his enthusiasm for his work. With nieces and nephews in the district, Grundmeyer said, he has a "vested interest" in seeing the schools thrive.

"I'm a pretty student-centered principal," he said. "They (students) have four years, and for leadership to be just surviving, and I'm not saying that's what they were doing, but to not have the resources and support they need, it isn't fair to those kids to not have the experience that maybe they could have with a little more support. I want them to have a great high school career."

Grundmeyer said that he usually gets hired "when people want change," and though that may not be the case here, he believes the timing of his employment will be beneficial for the district. He initiated a one-to-one initiative at Hampton-Dumont and wrote his dissertation on the impact of integrated technology on students' college-readiness.

"Hand over fist, in comparison with their peers, the students felt more college-ready," Grundmeyer said. "It filled a void for me in knowing that it really did prepare them more for college, and if it did for college, it certainly would for careers."

Though not an information technology (IT) or hardware specialist, Grundmeyer said, he has much to offer on how to transform and integrate technology in the classroom and how to utilize devices, such as those the Carroll district recently purchased, to engage students.

"Technology isn't an end-all-be-all, but when it's more engaging, better practice, more efficient, it should be considered," he said.

District officials are excited to have both Grundmeyer and his expertise.

"I appreciate, and we all do, that you took the initiative to put your services out in front of us," said school board president Kim Tiefenthaler at Monday's special board meeting. "That tells me a lot right there, that your heart is in education, and that you want to help Carroll High move forward, and I sure appreciate that."

CHS assistant principal Tammie McKenzie is looking forward to working with Grundmeyer.

"He is a go-getter and is trying as hard as he can to learn as much as he can about our district," she said. "He has a lot of strengths I can tap into. I think it will be a win-win for both of us."

McKenzie says she plans to apply for the principal position.

Grundmeyer appreciates the warm welcome he has received.

"It all comes down to good people doing good work," he said. "There are a lot of good people here, and I just hope to be able to maximize and build on that."

Grundmeyer, the 2013 Iowa Secondary Principal of the Year, recently took job as a professor at Drake University after spending more than a decade in high school education and administration. Only a few months out, he already missed the interactions with teachers and students, the culture of sports' Friday night lights and rousing school spirit.

"I'd find myself driving by some of the high schools around just trying to get a glimpse and capture some of that spirit back," he said. "There are a lot of challenges in education, but the people part is definitely something I miss quite a bit."

From Oelwein, Grundmeyer graduated high school in 1999. He attended Buena Vista University in Storm Lake before beginning his career as a middle-school health teacher in Waukee, where he taught for three years while completing his master's degree in education at Drake University. He moved on to become the principal of Hampton-Dumont High School in north-central Iowa, where he worked for four years while completing his superintendent's degree and starting a doctoral program at Iowa State University. In 2010, he became principal at Indianola High School. Grundmeyer finished his doctorate in May 2012 and continued serving the district until he accepted a position as an educational leadership professor this year.

While his work at Drake involves interaction with colleagues and adult students, Grundmeyer said, his duties now include research and writing. While he enjoys these less people-oriented duties, working with high school students remains a passion. With a few words of encouragement from his wife, Angela Rowedder, a 2002 Carroll High School graduate, Grundmeyer emailed his resume to Cordes.

"It sounds like there is an avenue to help support students and teachers here," he said.

Though he cannot give the board as much time as they would prefer, he will be at the high school two or three days a week. As consultant to the assistant principal, his priorities include building relationships with the staff, assisting with teacher evaluations, professional development and managerial duties, supporting the integration of technology into the classrooms, and eventually transitioning a new principal into the role.

"I like to have my hands on the pulse of all the different avenues," he said. "That's the way you affect a school the most."

Grundmeyer will not apply for the principal position. He said he has no interest in continuing in the Carroll district beyond this school year, stating that he needs the flexibility of his schedule at Drake to be home for his family. He and Angela have three young children, 4-year-old Grace, 3-year-old Faith and 10-month-old Truman. Angela is a physician assistant in Des Moines.

However, Grundmeyer said the temporary nature of the position will not affect his enthusiasm for his work. With nieces and nephews in the district, Grundmeyer said, he has a "vested interest" in seeing the schools thrive.

"I'm a pretty student-centered principal," he said. "They (students) have four years, and for leadership to be just surviving, and I'm not saying that's what they were doing, but to not have the resources and support they need, it isn't fair to those kids to not have the experience that maybe they could have with a little more support. I want them to have a great high school career."

Grundmeyer said that he usually gets hired "when people want change," and though that may not be the case here, he believes the timing of his employment will be beneficial for the district. He initiated a one-to-one initiative at Hampton-Dumont and wrote his dissertation on the impact of integrated technology on students' college-readiness.

"Hand over fist, in comparison with their peers, the students felt more college-ready," Grundmeyer said. "It filled a void for me in knowing that it really did prepare them more for college, and if it did for college, it certainly would for careers."

Though not an information technology (IT) or hardware specialist, Grundmeyer said, he has much to offer on how to transform and integrate technology in the classroom and how to utilize devices, such as those the Carroll district recently purchased, to engage students.

"Technology isn't an end-all-be-all, but when it's more engaging, better practice, more efficient, it should be considered," he said.

District officials are excited to have both Grundmeyer and his expertise.

"I appreciate, and we all do, that you took the initiative to put your services out in front of us," said school board president Kim Tiefenthaler at Monday's special board meeting. "That tells me a lot right there, that your heart is in education, and that you want to help Carroll High move forward, and I sure appreciate that."

CHS assistant principal Tammie McKenzie is looking forward to working with Grundmeyer.

"He is a go-getter and is trying as hard as he can to learn as much as he can about our district," she said. "He has a lot of strengths I can tap into. I think it will be a win-win for both of us."

McKenzie says she plans to apply for the principal position.

Grundmeyer appreciates the warm welcome he has received.

"It all comes down to good people doing good work," he said. "There are a lot of good people here, and I just hope to be able to maximize and build on that."