REGIONAL—Les Douma is ready to serve as a school district superintendent again — albeit for just one year.
The George-Little Rock School District Board of Education on Tuesday, July 2, approved the Orange City man as the school district’s part-time interim superintendent for the 2019-20 academic year.
Douma’s official first day on the job for George-Little Rock was Wednesday, July 3.
“I’m impressed with the district,” Douma said. “I’m looking forward to working with them and assisting them this year. I’m very pleased and honored that I can help them out.”
George-Little Rock school board president Doug Krull said hiring Douma on an interim basis allows the district more time to explore its options for what happens to the superintendent’s position after Douma’s one-year tenure ends.
“We really felt that Les brought a wealth of experience to the school district,” Krull said. “We are really pleased and feel privileged to have Les serve in an interim position. He brings great leadership to our school district and we’re very happy to have him aboard.”
Douma replaces John Eyerly in the district’s top leadership position.
Eyerly officially resigned from the George-based job at the end of June after having served in the role for two years.
Since retiring in 2007 from the position of chief administrator of the Northwest Area Education Agency, Douma has remained active in education with Douma Consulting Services, which helps school districts search for superintendent candidates.
“I have just tried to stay as involved inasmuch as I can in education,” the 76-year-old said. “Retirement has been good. It’s a part-time situation for them at George-Little Rock. At my age, I need to be in a part-time situation.”
Douma’s consulting services business helped find Eyerly in 2017 when George-Little Rock was searching for a superintendent to replace Steve Barber after he took the position of superintendent of the Atlantic School District.
Douma noted assisting George-Little Rock in its search for a superintendent two years ago helped him became familiar with the district.
“This is a good opportunity to work with the district, with the board, with the staff and students,” Douma said. “It’s a great little district. Their achievements in the classroom and on the playing field have just been outstanding.”
He hopes to work with Eyerly during the transition process for the superintendent’s position.
“You always value what has occurred in the past,” Douma said. “Everything that can help support my transition I need to exercise, and the outgoing superintendent would be one source.”
He will work closely with Cathy Bonestroo, the district’s business manager and the school board secretary.
“I look forward to meeting with her and working with her, the staff and the present administration,” Douma said. “I look forward to working with those individuals.”
The Sheldon native and former Orange City mayor has been a school district superintendent before.
During his career in education, which began in 1965, Douma served as the superintendent of the Rock Valley School District 1992-97 and the Orange City-based MOC-Floyd Valley School District 1997-2002.
Among Douma’s goals as George-Little Rock’s interim superintendent for his one-year tenure are to:
- Ensure the school district’s finances are stable.
- Create good working partnerships with school board members and the existing administrative team, as well as give them his support.
- Work with school board members, administration, staff and students to make sure he has a successful transition into the superintendent’s position.
- Meet and work with community leaders in George and Little Rock to ensure the relationship between the school district and the cities it serves is strong.
“Every year is a challenge, no matter what your status is as far as your career is concerned,” Douma said. “Every year should be a challenge.
“You need to be at your best each and every day; that’s my expectation for me,” he said. “I look forward to that challenge.”