May is School Board Recognition Month


May is set aside as School Board Recognition Month and is the perfect time to thank your locally elected school board members for their service!

Central Rivers AEA is also governed by volunteer community members who are elected by the local school districts. Serving over 62,000 students, 5,000 educators, and almost 500 staff members, these nine committed individuals are the backbone of the agency, setting the course for the work of the AEA.

Dr. Debra Rich, Board President, represents Charles City, Dike-New Hartford, Dunkerton, Nashua-Plainfield, Sumner-Fredericksburg, Tripoli, Wapsie Valley, and Waverly-Shell Rock. Deb enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with their three grown children and five delightful grandchildren. As a professional educator with 40 years of experience, she feels strongly that the AEA makes significant contributions to providing students with a high-quality education.

Roberta Kraft-Abrahamson, Board Vice President, represents Central Springs, Clear Lake, Forest City, Garner-Hayfield- Ventura, Lake Mills, North Iowa, Northwood-Kensett, St. Ansgar, and West Hancock. After working for the AEA for 25 years as a school social worker, Roberta now wants to use her AEA experience to further their mission.

Dr. George North is the representative for AGWSR, Alden, Aplington-Parkersburg, CAL, Clarksville, Eldora-New Providence, Grundy Center, Hampton-Dumont, Hubbard-Radcliffe, Iowa Falls, and North Butler. With over 50 years in dentistry, Dr. North has also been involved in education and volunteerism his entire life. He sums up his reason for serving on the AEA board in one short sentence, “public education is the foundation of a democratic republic.”

Dr. Darshini Jayawardena is the representative for Belmond-Klemme, Mason City, Osage, RRMR, and West Fork. She and her husband have three children and one daughter-in-law. Darshini feels that education is a priority, not just for children but also for our country.

David Giese represents the districts of BCLUW, East Marshall, GMG, Marshalltown, and West Marshall. He and his wife were both educators and with 38 years teaching experience, David wants to “give back” for the professional assistance he received from the AEA.

Maureen Hanson is the representative for BGM, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Grinnell-Newburg, Hudson, Montezuma, North Tama County, South Tama County, and Union. She and her husband have three married daughters and three beautiful granddaughters. Maureen is grateful for the opportunity to be part of the AEA team working to provide innovative leadership, services, and support to empower educators.

Richard Vande Kieft represents Cedar Falls, Denver, and Janesville. He wants to support the agency’s work in providing services that enable students of every ability to receive a quality education.

Bryan Burton was elected by the Waterloo school district and is the Area Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs. Their mission aligns with the AEA’s in that both organizations are committed to helping young people reach their full potential.

Dennis Craun, Jr., represents the districts of East Buchanan, Independence, Jesup, and Waterloo. Denny works for the United States Postal Service and he and his wife have two children. As the parent of students with special needs, he wants to serve the AEA who helped his children grow despite their challenges.

Please join us in honoring the work of these dedicated people who donate countless hours of personal time to help ensure a quality education for all of Iowa’s students!