Clarke Schools will bid farewell to Steve Seid this summer as he steps down as superintendent and into retirement.
Having served over his thirty-seven yeas as an educator, 31 as a school administrator, Seid held positions around central Iowa including Des Moines, Saydel and Keota. With a couple years as principal of Clarke middle school from 2005-07, he also served as interim superintendent for the district for a semester. But ultimately, was eager to return when the post became available in 2014.
“This is a great community and I was excited about the possibilities I saw,” said Seid. “It was the right opportunity to work for the students and help the district accomplish some things we could really be proud of.”
All of the Clarke campuses look and feel different from when Seid came aboard in 2014. Focusing improvements on alleviating crowding and creating a better and safer learning environment, Seid led the district through some considerable changes. Classrooms were added at the middle school, the secondary campus got a new cafeteria, air conditioning was added where areas before had none, additional class spaces were created, new locker rooms, as well as safer access with a new roadway. The elementary received significant structural upgrades including the renovation and remodeling of the elementary offices and the entire district will benefit from cost-effective lighting, short-throw cameras in all classrooms, and improved security at every building. As an added bonus, through a partnership with the Shijiazhuang Foreign Education Group and a Clarke educational partnership in China, Mr. Seid and almost 20 Clarke teachers were sent overseas to demonstrate American teaching processes and collaborate professionally with teams in China.
Another goal was to ensure that students were receiving the support they needed to succeed. Seid brought in a Special Education Director and a K-12 Social Worker, added accessibility improvements. He also directed the installation of irrigation systems and upgraded the softball and baseball infields, resurfaced the tennis courts and the track, put in synthetic turf at the football field, allowing the creation of a soccer program – something Clarke students missed out on in previous years – and built a strong administration team to support the entire school district.
“Our team of administrators is equipped to continue serving Clarke students long into the future,” Seid said. “No matter what, their ultimate focus is always on the kids and making decisions that are best for them.”
The past seven years have dished up a series of challenges for the school district and for Steve, himself. He finished chemotherapy almost two years ago, continuing the work that needed to be done during his exhausting treatment, but this past year has been the most formidable of his long career. It was imperative to work with the community to make sure students and staff were safe while still finding a way to educate the children throughout pandemic shutdowns and frequent uncertainty. While no district cleared every hurdle perfectly, Seid is proud of the way the Clarke team found ways to deal with the issues the pandemic presented.
Looking to the future, Seid is eager to spend time with his family. His wife, Carol, is also retiring from her position as Associate Superintendent of Human Resources for West Des Moines Schools. Together, they’d been planning for this step for quite some time and knew the timing was right for to make the call this year. The two of them plan to slow down, do some traveling, and spend time with family. But they also know that after more than three decades of demanding and rewarding careers, coming to a complete stop isn’t in the cards, either. They are considering several different options, but all will help keep them connected to the public school system that’s been part of their lives for so long.
“My hope is that I’ve been able to plant some seeds to benefit Clarke Schools,” said Seid. “Everything I’ve done has been done for the future of the district, the students, and the staff. I never thought of it as leaving a legacy. It’s just the right work.”
Seid went on to assure the board that, while retirement is in the near future, the work continues through the final day.
“There’s no stopping what needs to be done for the kids,” said Seid. “This is my passion and I’m committed to finishing the work we’ve started.”
Over the next several months, Seid will continue working to provide the next superintendent and Clarke administration the best possible foundation from which to grow.