By Celine Klosterman
IOWA CITY – Lee Iben is now president and CEO of Regina Catholic Education Center, following a five-month period in which he served as interim president of the PreK-12 school system.
Regina’s board of education announced the appointment last week, nine months after former President Carol Trueg told the board she planned to resign June 30, 2011.
Iben “brings with him a wealth of knowledge pertaining to the development and operations of the president model specifically and Regina as a whole,” said Matt Pacha, who chairs the Regina Board of Education. Iben served on the board from 2002-08 and was board chair from 2005-08. “Mr. Iben was instrumental in navigating the school through challenging times and has a solid vision of our future direction. It’s rare to be able to find a person who is rich in Regina knowledge and history, has served on and led the board of education, personally knows the faculty and most of the families, and works so well with the leadership of each of the four supporting parishes,” Pacha said. St. Wenceslaus, St. Mary and St. Patrick parishes in Iowa City and St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville support the school.
Iben’s duties include promoting Regina’s Catholic identity, directing long-range strategic planning, helping committees fulfill the strategic plan and working with the Regina Foundation on development.
He had been named interim president after a 12-member search committee spent two months this spring seeking a replacement for Trueg, who is now chief administrator with Holy Family Catholic Schools in Dubuque. Regina didn’t find the right candidate at that time, Jim Howe, then-board chair, said in June.
Pacha said Regina’s search committee reconvened in November and recommended hiring Iben permanently. The school board agreed.
“I’m pretty humbled,” Iben said. “This position isn’t about me. It’s about making sure Regina continues to move forward, every day raising the bar a little higher. My job is to get Regina the tools to keep educating our children and make them good, responsible citizens down the road.”
In addition to working as president, he will serve in the role of ex-officio on the Regina Foundation Board of Directors and as an acting member of the Catholic Ministries Commission for the Iowa City Deanery of the Diocese of Davenport.
An artist, photographer and member of St. Wenceslaus Parish, he owns Iben Studios, LLC, in Iowa City. Until his appointment as president, he managed the pediatric dental practice of his wife, Polly, in Coralville. Two of the Ibens’ sons, Christian and Xavian, currently attend Regina. A daughter, Alex, and son, Niko, graduated from the school.