By Celine Klosterman
Laurie Mendenhall says she’s looking forward to working with Keokuk Catholic School’s “good students and family atmosphere.”
Her term as the school’s new principal officially started July 1, after she wrapped up a year as director of Kid Zone, a before- and after-school program in the Keokuk Community School District. Previously, she had been a site director for the program for seven years. She also had led a grant program in Van Buren County for school-based family resource programs and was a principal in Albia and Eddyville before returning to Keokuk, her hometown, in 2001.
Mendenhall graduated from Northeast Missouri State University and earned a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Northern Iowa in 1988. She attended public schools in Keokuk.
In Keokuk Catholic School, she “saw an opportunity to be in a small-school setting and develop an exciting Catholic program,” she says. She’s known several teachers at the school, and heard it has a “wonderful” family atmosphere.
“As a board we feel she brings new, innovative ideas as an administrator,” said Bob Morgan, president of the Keokuk Catholic School Board. “We know she will be a good fit in our school, a great team leader. She has been in education for the last 19 years. She has a long-term relationship with the community and works well with kids.”
He said seven people applied for the position of principal, and the board interviewed three candidates.
Mendenhall lives with her husband, Max, who teaches world geography in the Keokuk school district. She has an adult daughter and two grown step-children.
She succeeds Jill Stuecker. Stuecker’s desire to spend more time with her sons, ages 4 and 2 ½, prompted her to submit her resignation notice in January. “I love being at home with my boys and it’s going to take the perfect position to take me away from them,” she said.