Hocking named superintendent
May 03, 2013 · Jake Krob
With school board president Andy Sullivan calling him the "complete package," the board last week announced that Patrick Hocking will be the Lisbon School District's next superintendent.
Hocking, of Ellsworth, is currently superintendent and principal for the Northeast Hamilton School District. He starts in Lisbon on July 1, replacing Brad Laures. Laures, who's completing his fourth year in Lisbon, is departing for the superintendency in the Denver, Iowa, district.
"I'm humbled and overwhelmed - the response I've been getting is amazing," said Hocking, 47.
The school board interviewed four finalists for the position - Hocking, Amy Kortemeyer (of Lisbon and an elementary director of teaching and learning for Linn-Mar), Jan Brandhorst (superintendent of Marcus Meriden Cleghorn School District), and Rich Schulte (elementary principal for the Pella School District).
Sullivan said it was an "extremely difficult decision," but Hocking is the best fit for Lisbon right now. He said board members liked that he has proven experience running a smaller school, and that his peers, teachers and other staff at Northeast Hamilton respect him a great deal.
Sullivan said Hocking has good experience with curriculum development, and will be good at "augmenting" the advances the Lisbon district has already made.
"He's very involved with students and will be very involved in the community," Sullivan said.
He added that the board was impressed with a video Hocking made that was all about Lisbon.
Hocking said he and his wife, Melissa, had been eyeing a move to Eastern Iowa - Hocking is from Galena, Ill., and Melissa is from Michigan (she's a high school science teacher who's getting her master's in curriculum instruction).
"Lisbon was at the top of my list," Hocking said. "It's a very progressive district. Some of the things they are doing are second to none."
He added that he had a strong desire to continue working in a smaller district.
"I have small-town school beliefs and values," he said.
Hocking has worked the past 19 years in the Northeast Hamilton district, which is located in Blairsburg (east Fort Dodge and Webster City) and serves about 250 students K-12.
He started as principal for the entire district in 1994, and for the past year has also been superintendent.
Hocking oversaw the district's move to partial day sharing this past year with the Webster City School District. Northeast Hamilton high schoolers go to Webster City for a half day for classes such as vocational training and fine arts, and spend a half day in their home district for core classes.
"I get to wear a lot of hats here - there isn't a school job I haven't touched," Hocking said.
He had similar broad experience in his first job as a K-8 teacher in the Clearfield district from 1989 to 1994. There, duties included everything from coaching to driving bus to serving as the athletic director, in addition to teaching.
Hocking earned a bachelor's degree in teaching K-12 PE and health from the University of Dubuque in 1989, and a master's in secondary/elementary administration from Northwest Missouri State in 1994. He earned his superintendent certificate from the University of Northern Iowa in 2010.
"I love being around people - especially kids," Hocking said.
He said as superintendent at Lisbon, he'll be very community oriented.
"I'm open and up front - very approachable," he said.
Already, he's studying up on Lisbon, and will likely shadow Laures for a week before he begins his post. Hocking said he and his wife will be in Lisbon soon to begin looking for a home.
Hocking has two children - Ryan, 20, who is a student at Iowa Community College in Fort Dodge, and Madison, 16, who will be a junior in Jewell.
Hocking said in his spare time he enjoys the outdoors, especially hunting and camping.