ROCK RAPIDS—David Ackerman takes great pride in the fact that he is leaving the Central Lyon School District set up for future success.
The 54-year-old is ready to retire from his role as Central Lyon’s superintendent at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. He has served in that position since 2005.
“I’ve been in education for 30 years — 22 as an administrator — and the time just seemed right,” Ackerman said. “I’m leaving a situation where the finances, the staff, the buildings, the vehicle fleet — everything is really in good shape.
“Personally, I had a couple medical scares recently,” he said. “I’ve come to realize that life is short and there’s a lot of things I want to do, so I figured it was time.”
The rural Rock Rapids resident has worked at Central Lyon since 2001. He was the school district’s 9-12 principal for four years before he became its superintendent.
After two years as Central Lyon’s lead administrator, Ackerman was a shared superintendent between Central Lyon and George-Little Rock for three years before going back to just being Central Lyon’s.
“We had a few years of declining enrollment, so after that sharing agreement ended, I was high school principal and superintendent for seven years,” Ackerman said, noting that he has served as just the school district’s superintendent for the past two years.
He talked about what he has enjoyed about his career at Central Lyon, which serves the communities of Rock Rapids and Doon as well as the surrounding rural area.
“It’s been a tremendous district,” Ackerman said. “I feel very confident about the education that students are receiving, which is the very first thing that has to be the case.
“My own four kids graduated from here,” he said. “They did very well in their fields that they pursued. They said they felt very well-prepared for college.”
He mentioned a motto that the administration has at Central Lyon.
“We find good people, we hire good people and we keep good people,” Ackerman said. “That’s been critical in providing an education that I think is very sound and very solid. The bottom line of everything is, we have to be doing a good job of teaching and meeting the needs of the students.”
He will miss getting to know the students and working with his staff and school board members, but the former high school industrial arts teacher is looking forward to having more time for his many hobbies.
“I’m interested in woodworking,” Ackerman said. “I’m interested in construction and repairs of houses. I’m interested in a number of things.
“Some fishing would be really nice,” he said. “I haven’t done much of that in the last couple years. There’s just a whole lot of things that I want to do that I just haven’t had the time to do for the last couple years.”
He mentioned that he and his wife, Roxanne — a Rock Valley Elementary first-grade teacher — want to spend more time traveling and visiting their four adult children.
“Our son’s in Spirit Lake,” Ackerman said. “We’ve got two daughters in Sioux City and one in Omaha. We’ve got a new grandson — a 1-year-old grandson — so we’ll be more available to visit them or baby-sit or whatever.”
The George native does not see himself going into full retirement for the rest of his life, but he does not know what kind of job he will do next.
“I might do something part time,” Ackerman said. “I’m looking for a little bit of downtime first and then I’ll try to figure it out from there.”
His final day as Central Lyon’s superintendent is set to be June 30 at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. He will be replaced by Brent Jorth, the principal of Webster City High School.
“I’ve met him and I think he’ll do a good job,” Ackerman said. “Things are in place to do well.”