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Szackas chosen as O-M’s next leader

Orient-Macksburg Community Schools will have a new leader beginning July 1, pending board approval Wednesday night.

Norene Bunt, who has served the district part-time, announced her resignation after Christmas and the school board there went to work a short time later to find her replacement.

School Board President Eldon Ray announced Tuesday that the board was scheduled to meet Wednesday night to approve a contract for Bill Szackas to fill a full-time superintendent/high school principal/assistant elementary principal position. The contract would begin July 1.

Current principal Teresa Thompson will serve elementary students exclusively beginning next year after expressing a desire to the board to scale back duties.

Szackas has been in administrative roles in education for over 25 years. The last 13 years, he’s been an administrator in the Des Moines Public Schools.

An interview team was comprised of Thompson and other staff. Both they and the board interiewed six candidates they deemed were finalists in the process that began with 12 applicants.

“We decided we were going to make it a superintendent/principal position,” Ray said. “Almost every one of the people we interviewed, that was one thing they commented on, that it was intriguing to them because they could do the superintendent part of it but still be able to be around the kids more as the principal, so I’m glad we did it that way.”

Other business

Also on Orient-Macksburg’s school board agenda Wednesday night was a decision on paying school employees through the unexpected school closure across Iowa due to the new coronavirus situation. Many school boards across Iowa have already chosen to do so, including area schools Nodaway Valley and Creston.

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