The Des Moines Register

Board picks Snowgren to lead Perry High, citing his ‘extremely effective job’ as interim principal

- Allison Ullmann Des Moines Register

Brad Snowgren will move from interim principal to principal of Perry High School starting on July 1.

The school board approved his appointmen­t during a special meeting on Wednesday.

Board members worked with Grundmeyer Leader Services and Ray and Associates, Inc. to conduct the search. The rival Iowa search firms partnered at no cost to help find a successor to Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger, who died of wounds suffered in the Jan. 4 shootings at the school.

Dylan Butler, a 17-year-old Perry High student, killed 11-year-old Ahmir Jolliff and wounded seven other people, including Marburger, before taking his own life. Marburger — who police say tried to intervene to protect students — died 10 days later.

He served in the Perry district for nearly 30 years, first as associate principal in 1995, then as principal beginning in 1997.

Before the board approved Snowgren’s appointmen­t, Marburger’s family spoke during Wednesday’s open forum.

While Hannah Pierce understand­s that her dad “cannot and will not be replaced,” she said, “I’m probably biased.

“My dad loved this place so much, he gave his life protecting it and his people,” Pierce said. “We just want to make sure due diligence has been done to ensure that Perry High School has the best candidate that will carry on his qualities.”

Superinten­dent Clark Wicks said during Wednesday’s meeting that Grundmeyer Leader Services and Ray and Associates, Inc. cast a wide net and came up with 13 applicants. The two search firms told Wicks that the average is 12 for the high school principal position.

After reviewing the 13 applicants, the number was reduced to six. Those six answered questions through video, Wicks said, and the number was then narrowed to three. He said around 37 people participat­ed in the interview team, including students, parents, teachers and community members.

After going through the results from the interview process, Wicks recommende­d Snowgren to serve as the next high school principal.

“We wanted to be able to have a

person that we feel could handle this extremely challengin­g situation,” Wicks said. “Since Jan. 4, I feel that Mr. Snowgren has been able to do an extremely effective job connecting with the students, connecting with staff and doing a job in which nobody else would realize how difficult the situation was.”

The district said in a statement that Snowgren has overseen the daily operations of the high school building in his role as interim principal since Jan. 4. He has assisted in extracurri­cular activities, helped manage facilities and consulted on the building’s constructi­on and remodeling project for reopening.

In a statement, Snowgren said he is “deeply honored and humbled” to lead Perry High School.

“As principal, I look forward to guiding our students towards success in both academics and character developmen­t,” Snowgren said in a statement.

Snowgren previously served as the associate principal of Perry High School for over six years and began his career in education as a high school physical education and health teacher in the Fairfield Community School District.

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