By Celine Klosterman
A former seminarian and principal at Catholic schools throughout Iowa has taken the helm at Seton Catholic School in Ottumwa.
Duane Siepker began serving this month as principal at Seton, which last spring had 126 students in pre-kindergarten to sixth grade. Previously he was principal for two years at Sacred Heart School in Boone, for five years at St. Cecilia School in Ames and for seven years at St. Thomas Aquinas School in Webster City. During his 24 years in education, he also has taught fifth- to eighth-grade language arts classes in Catholic and public schools.
In Seton, Siepker saw “a terrific school that had a few challenges … I’m passionate about Catholic education and would like to see the school grow. I’d like to ensure it will be here 100 years from now.”
Siepker earned a master’s degree in elementary educational administration from Iowa State University in 1991. Earlier, his studies at Maryknoll Seminary in Glen Ellyn, Ill., strengthened his passion for Catholic education. He said he wants young people to know two things: “They’ve been created by a loving God and nothing can take that goodness away from them,” and “God has given them gifts and talents. When students develop those, they’ll feel the goodness of God.”
He said he hopes to stress Seton’s Catholic identity and further the mission of “teaching the whole child.”
Mary Beth Delaney, president of Seton’s board of education, said the board was impressed by Siepker’s experience in Catholic education and administration. “We felt he was a good fit for our school and the school’s needs at this time,” she said. “… He’s very personable, and I think he will do good things for Seton.”
Siepker took over for Terri Schofield, who accepted a position as principal of Lakeview Elementary in Centerville.