By Celine Klosterman
After working 33 years in public schools, Bob Carr is returning to the Catholic education of his youth.
In August, he’ll officially begin his term as principal of Notre Dame Elementary School in Burlington. He spent the past three years as principal of Denmark Elementary School in Fort Madison, and worked for 18 years before that as principal of Lincoln Elementary School there.
The University of Northern Iowa graduate also has taught elementary and special-needs students at public schools and worked for Southern Prairie Area Education Agency 15.
“I’ve reached that point in my career where I can retire from the public education system, and having grown up in Catholic schools, I thought it’d be an opportunity to give back some of what I was given during those years,” he said. Notre Dame’s self-described “family environment” also appealed to him.
Carr attended St. Mary School and Walsh High School in Ottumwa.
His decades of experience in education impressed Notre Dame’s school board, said Steve Giertz, board president. “He’s got a real strong character,” Giertz said. “He really believes in Catholic education and grew up with Catholic education. We felt he understood the importance of what we’re trying to achieve.”
Giertz said 13 people applied to be Notre Dame Elementary School’s principal, and four “really strong” candidates were interviewed.
Carr’s wife, Patti, is a retired preschool educator. The couple has an adult son and daughter. Carr’s son-in-law, Matt Rump, and an uncle, Bill Carr, have taught at Notre Dame, and eight of the new principal’s cousins attended the school.
Carr takes over for Michelle Earhart, who has taken a position as principal of Richardson Elementary School in Fort Madison.