by Phil Prazan
After a week of interviews the new superintendent doesn't have to travel far. After almost a year as interim superintendent, Thomas Ahart has been chosen as the new full-time superintendent for Des Moines Public Schools.
Chair of the School Board Dick Murphy announced it at a crowded press conference Friday. He says Ahart beat out the competition by not just focusing on what the school district was doing well, but how they can continue that in the following years.
Ahart's been associate superintendent since 2011. Before that he was the principal at Harding Middle School.
The 45-year-old Ahart has been leading the 32,000 student district since former Superintendent Nancy Sebring quit to become superintendent of schools in Omaha, Neb. Sebring later resigned the Omaha job after emails to a lover on her Des Moines district computer became public.
Friday he said he looks forward to the many challenges of Iowa's largest school district.
"We're going to be the model urban school district in the country. That's our mission. We're well on our way. We have a long road ahead of us but we're going to keep our eyes on the prize and keep it going," says Ahart.
Ahart's salary will be $260,000. That contract will be voted on at the next school board meeting on March 12th.
Ahart was chosen over two other finalists. They were James Browder, superintendent of the Anchorage School District in Alaska, and Carey Wright, chief academic officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Ahart will become the district's 13th superintendent.