By Celine Klosterman
OTTUMWA – Seton Catholic School is seeking a new principal as its current administrator, Duane Siepker, prepares to return to St. Thomas Aquinas School in Webster City.
“I was principal there from 1996 to 2003, so it’s like a homecoming. A majority of the same staffers are still there, and they wanted me back,” said Siepker, who joined Seton as principal in 2010. Webster City also is closer to family, he said.
His resignation “is something, of course, we weren’t really expecting,” said Joe Miller, president of Seton’s board of education. “He’s been a very good administrator for our school, but everyone understands his reasons for accepting the new position.”
Before coming to Seton, Siepker 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. The Webster City school has 100 students in prekindergarten to sixth grade and is similar in size to Seton, which has about 114 students in prekindergarten to fifth grade.
During his 46 years in education, Siepker also has taught fifth- to eighth-grade language arts classes in Catholic and public schools.
“My time at Seton has been a wonderful and most enjoyable experience,” he said. “The young people are totally awesome, truly treasures and the ‘nearest thing to heaven!’ Our two pastors and the staff have been very supportive and a joy as well.
“I’m proud of our renewed emphasis on our Catholic identity, the board of education’s strategic planning with Superintendent Lee Morrison, promoting a strong interest in science with Mad Science of Iowa’s Dr. Shock and an annual science fair, ensuring that there was a certain joy in coming to school, either to teach or learn, and sprucing up the physical environment.”
Miller said that after Seton introduced an all-day preschool program under Siepker, kindergarten enrollment grew from about 10 students to 17. The school continues to offer half-day preschool programs that began before 2010. An upcoming gala that Siepker inspired holds potential to be a huge fundraiser for the school, Miller added.
Seton wants the next principal to help continue raising enrollment, promote the school, manage finances and keep children excited about learning, he said. “We’re looking for a dynamic individual, someone who’s enthusiastic about Catholic education.”
Interested candidates should contact Miller at Jr_miller2@yahoo.com.