Tom Ahart, Superintendent, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, Iowa | AASA Central
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Tom Ahart, Superintendent, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa: Leaders Matter

Nominated By: Roark R. Horn, Executive Director, School Administrators of Iowa

Tom Ahart, Superintendent, Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, Iowa



Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Tom Ahart (  is leading innovative work in the district including a clearly articulated vision, mission and statement of student expectations:



Becoming the model for urban education in the United States.


Mission Statement:

The Des Moines Public Schools Exist So That Graduates Possess the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities to Be Successful at the Next Stage of Their Lives.


Student Expectations:

Students demonstrate proficiency and understanding of a rigorous core curriculum:

They demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening

They demonstrate proficiency in mathematics, including algebra and geometry

They demonstrate financial and economic literacy

They demonstrate an understanding of the value of fine and performing arts in society

They demonstrate proficiency in technological and information literacy

They demonstrate proficiency in science, including life, earth and physical science


Students possess the knowledge and skills to be self-directed and autonomous:

They demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills

They exercise sound reasoning in making complex choices

They exhibit creative, innovative and entrepreneurial thinking

They understand the attributes of physical and mental well-being


Students have world awareness:

They learn from and work with individuals representing diverse cultures and religions in a spirit of mutual respect in school, work and community

They understand the rights and obligations of citizenship at local, state, national, and global levels

They are actively engaged in community life

They will be exposed to languages and cultures of the world


Exemplars of Leadership:

  • Demonstrated and clearly delineated vision for student achievement.


To learn more about the superintendents profiled in AASA’s Leaders Matter campaign, visit To join the conversation via Twitter, please access #LeadersMatter.

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