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Hansen departs after one year
June 28, 2013 · Jake Krob

The search is on for a new principal at Mount Vernon's Washington Elementary.

Mike Hansen, who just completed his first year as principal, announced his resignation last week. He's been named the pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade principal at Prairie View Elementary in the College Community School District.

Hansen said College Community is just one of a couple of districts he would have considered leaving Mount Vernon for.

"These opportunities don't come along very often," he said. "It came along sooner than I'd expected."

The district is larger than Mount Vernon's, and there are several elementary principals he'll be able to work with professionally.

He added that he's not leaving unhappy.

Instead, Hansen said, "it's bittersweet."

Hansen, who lives in Marion, came to Mount Vernon after serving two years as principal in the Highland School District.

In Mount Vernon, he said, "the biggest joy were the staff and students - I'm going to miss them terribly."

He said he's proud of staff at Washington Elementary aligning learning targets with the Iowa Common Core standards and working collaboratively to help all students achieve success.

"It wasn't me - it was them," Hansen said. "I'm going to be excited to hear about how they build on that next year. It will be even better."

Gary O'Malley, who begins as superintendent on July 1, will be involved in the process to replace Hansen.

Although new to the district, O'Malley has recent experience hiring principals in Cedar Rapids. Mount Vernon School Board president Darrin Gage said it's reassuring O'Malley has that experience.

Gage said he prefers hiring a permanent replacement, as opposed to an interim. (When Terry Eisenbarth departed as Washington Elementary principal, Noreen Bush served as principal of both the elementary and middle school for the 2011-12 school year, with Bob Haugse serving as assistant principal at the middle school. Bush left the district for College Community after that year, Haugse took over as middle school principal and Hansen as principal at the elementary.)

Gage added that just as was the case with hiring O'Malley and recent principal hires, focus groups of staff and citizens will be involved in the process.

Gage had praise for Hansen and his one year of service to the Mount Vernon district.

"I had nothing but overwhelming great comments about Mike," Gage said. "That was both from the public and teachers."

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