South O’Brien superintendent to retire

Dan Moore has announced plans to retire as superintendent of the South O’Brien School District at the end of the 2019-20 academic year after having served in the position since 2009.

REGIONAL—The longest-tenured superintendent in the South O’Brien School District’s history is planning to step down at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

Dan Moore has been the leader of the school district since 2009, but the 58-year-old is ready to retire from the Paullina-based position. He is in the 36th year of his career in education.

“There’s no special reason to retire,” he said. “It’s just when that time comes.”

Moore has enjoyed leading South O’Brien for the past decade. The school district dates back to 1990 and covers the communities of Calumet, Gaza, Germantown, Paullina, Primghar and Sutherland and the rural areas around them.

“The most enjoyable part about it is the kids’ performances,” he said. “When I was looking for a superintendency, I was looking for a good matchup — the students, the parents, the community.”

Moore had been the Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School principal in Sergeant Bluff since 1995 before he became South O’Brien’s superintendent.

“The value system is very good here and the work ethic is very good here,” Moore said. “I’ve enjoyed watching the kids. They’re competitors.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s in the classroom, in music, on the athletic field — they compete,” he said. “It’s fun to watch.”

Moore is always proud when students he helps oversee perform well academically and athletically.

“I’ve always enjoyed when the light bulb goes off in a student’s head — ‘Ah, they got it,’” he said. “Or they’ve been successful. They’ve worked hard toward something and they were successful. That’s the same as a superintendent position because I’ve seen my role as providing leadership for the district and developing leaders in the district. I believe that everyone needs to be a leader.”

Moore mentioned what he will miss the most about working in education.

“What I will miss is the same thing most educators will miss — the many relationships you’ve developed over the years, whether it’d be with students, with staff, with the board, with the community,” he said. “Those relationships are pretty special.”

Moore has enjoyed working with South O’Brien’s seven-member board of education during his time with the school district.

“The board and I have been on the same page for the last 10 years,” he said. “We’ve been able to be focused and get a lot of things accomplished and make improvements, especially facility-wise, financially. Things have gone very well.”

Moore mentioned the improvement projects that have happened at South O’Brien High School in Paullina and South O’Brien Elementary in Primghar during his career.

“We have always come up with a three- to five-year plan to improve our facilities,” he said. “Then we stick with it and make some improvements every year.

“You sometimes can’t afford to do it all in one year, but if you make a plan, you can get it done over several years,” he said.

The Elgin, MN, native, and his wife, Pam, a retired registered nurse, are going to relocate from Paullina to a house on a lake in Hot Springs Village, AR, once he steps down as South O’Brien’s superintendent.

During his career in education, Moore has served as a teacher, a secondary principal and a superintendent, and has taken pleasure in working in each position.

“I enjoyed teaching, I enjoyed being a high school principal and I’ve enjoyed the superintendency,” he said. “It’s all about people. Building relationships with people and students makes it enjoyable.”


South O’Brien School District superintendent Dan Moore has been a part of the School Administrators of Iowa for 28 years.

His involvement with the organization has included the following roles:

  • Representative Council member, 1996-99.
  • Executive Committee member, 1997-99.
  • District 12 president, 1999.
  • Legislative Committee member, 2000-01.
  • Representative Council member, 2001-07.
  • Executive Committee officer, 2003-07.
  • President, 2005-06.

Moore was nominated for SAI’s Iowa Secondary Principal of the Year in 1998 and 2008. He was named the organization’s District 12 Principal of the Year those same two years.

Earlier this year, he was selected as SAI’s Northwest Iowa Superintendent of the Year. That selection means he has been nominated for the organization’s annual Iowa Superintendent of the Year Award.