DES MOINES – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed Chad Aldis, a native Iowan and former student of Camanche, East Central (now Easton Valley) and Clinton Community school districts, to lead the Iowa Department of Education as director beginning March 15.
Aldis succeeds Ann Lebo, who announced last month she is stepping down from Iowa’s Department of Education, which sets standards for K-12 schools and oversees the state’s community colleges, to pursue other opportunities.
Lebo leaves the department shortly after Republican state lawmakers and Reynolds approved a $345 million private school financial aid package, and with dozens of public education-related bills swirling through the Iowa Legislature.
The program will provide $7,600 in yearly scholarships—funded by taxpayer dollars—to be spent at private schools in Iowa. There are income limits on the funding in the first years of the program, but eventually the scholarships will be available to parents of all income levels.
“I’m honored to accept this opportunity to serve the students of Iowa,” Aldis said. “The governor’s unwavering commitment to ensuring all children are provided with a quality education that fits their needs is a vision I share and one that will drive the department’s work.”
For the last nine years Aldis has worked for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute – a conservative think tank – advocating for educational policy in Ohio, including private school choice. He also worked for an educational group started by the Walton family (founders of Walmart) and another Ohio non-profit focused on school choice.
“Chad is the type of leader we need at this pivotal time for Iowa’s education system,” Reynolds said. “His unique perspective will help lead reform within the department and across our schools so that every Iowa student—regardless of what school they attend—receives a quality education that prepares them to be successful in life.”
A fourth-generation Iowan, Aldis was born and raised in eastern Iowa, graduated from Clinton High School in 1990, and was named to the Des Moines Register’s First Team Academic All State. He began his college career at the University of Northern Iowa before transferring to the University of Mississippi where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. He also holds a law degree from Florida State University.
“Like many Iowans, I owe much to the great public education I received. We need to make sure that today’s students have the same opportunities to pursue their dreams,” Aldis added. “That starts with all students leaving high school with the reading, math and civics knowledge and skills to prepare them for either college or a career.”