(Shenandoah) -- After eight years with the Shenandoah School District, Jason Shaffer is looking forward to a "great opportunity."
Earlier this week, the Shenandoah School Board approved Shaffer's resignation as high school principal. Shaffer recently accepted the shared superintendent's position with the Bedford and Mount Ayr School Districts. He succeeds Joe Drake, who is retiring at the end of the current school year. Shaffer tells KMA News he was ready to take the next step up in his education career.
"I think, ultimately, it was a great opportunity to lead and join two districts there," said Shaffer. "I've been working toward a superintendent's position for the last year or two, and this was just a great opportunity, pursued it, and things seem to fit very well for us there."
Shaffer says he found Bedford and Mount Ayr enticing in a number of areas.
"Overall, it was just the amount of community involvement, support, the staff, you know, the people there that were involved in the (interview) process," he said. "They just did a wonderful job of representing their districts well. You could tell there was a lot of pride there, and great facilities, great programs They're high-achieving districts--everything that a family or a person involved with school would want to be a part of."
In a press release, Bedford and Mount Ayr school officials cited Shaffer's diversity of leadership experience and proven instructional leadership experience as a strength in the interview process. Coming to Shenandoah in the fall of 2012, Shaffer served as middle school principal before moving to the high school in the fall of 2018. While in Shenandoah, Shaffer led initiatives to expand STEM-related programs, and improve technology. However, he credits the district's staff and community for his success.
"It seems like there's a long list of different things," said Shaffer, "and a lot of those things aren't possible without great staff members, and students, and support of the community. That was one thing that was always easy at Shenandoah. Anything that we were doing, or needed help--whether that be financial or just people--the community was willing to step up and do that."
Beyond the classroom, Shaffer reflects on other memories of his time in Shenandoah.
"You know, I look back even at things as simple as just the fun events," he said, "the dodge ball, the Waffle Man, the fitness park we built a few years ago. The student council and STEM teachers that we had. At the high school, there's been a continuation of a lot of the great things that Mrs. (Sandy) Hilding had in place, and had rolling."
Shaffer's tenure as superintendent begins July 1st. Earlier this week, Shenandoah School Superintendent Dr. Kerri Nelson told KMA News the district would advertise the principal's opening, and conduct a search for Shaffer's successor.