Iowa AEA system advocates pave the way for excellence

In December, Brent Siegrist retired from his former role as AEA executive director, but will continue to support the AEA system by focusing on legislative advocacy. This change offers the AEA system the benefit of Brent’s considerable background, knowledge and expertise in the legislative process, and enhances relationships with policymakers. We are grateful for the leadership that Brent has provided for over 15 years. 

Tom Lane, who has served as a legislative liaison for Iowa’s AEAs the past four years, has been named the interim executive director and will now focus the majority of his time on coordination of our statewide work. His priority is to enhance and promote the work of the AEA system, and he will work closely with chief administrators, strengthen relationships with the director groups, and continue to maintain legislative advocacy efforts. Tom’s experience as a teacher, counselor, principal and superintendent will strengthen the community building, both within the AEA system and with other entities. 

Iowa’s AEAs are fortunate to have the ability to capitalize on the strengths and interests of each of these professionals and to have two staff members who have the ability to complement each other and the work of the AEA system. 

Their work paves the way with legislators to ensure the AEA system in Iowa can continue the 43-year legacy of offering special education services to children and families who oftentimes don’t know where to turn. We also offer support to educators through professional development and with supplemental resources for classroom instruction. Iowa AEA employees are highly trained in their respective fields, and they are passionate about helping children in Iowa succeed…for another 40 years and beyond!

Please note that the 2018 legislative session is well underway. You can do your part to advocate for education in Iowa by contacting your legislators and informing them of the important work you do everyday for children and families. There are always new faces in the legislature and many do not fully comprehend the the breadth and depth of our work. 

Superintendents from across the state recently convened at the State Capitol to visit with legislators and share what is most vital to education this year. Some of the highlights include:

- supporting the removal of the SAVE sunset;

- increasing the supplemental state aid and categorical funding;

- supporting the removal of the sunset for operational sharing incentives;

- supporting state policy that identifies options and resources for student mental health; and

- supporting legislation that addresses inequities of transportation costs.

Be sure to inform legislators of your top priorities at legislative forums or by contacting them directly.

As always, be sure to check out our blogs, which we hope will inform, inspire and guide your daily work:

For a complete listing of all blogs, please go to the Northwest AEA website. You can also sign up for an RSS feed to automatically receive blog updates (instructions provided on the Northwest AEA website).

Educationally yours,

Dr. Tim Grieves
Chief Administrator