Gary Zittergruen is Iowa Superintendent of the Year


Superintendent Gary Zittergruen of the Benton Community School District has been named the 2016-17 Iowa Superintendent of the Year by the School Administrators of Iowa.

Zittergruen’s description of the guiding principles that influence his work and the specific ways in which he uses those principles when working with staff, students and the community made an impression on the selection committee. Committee members also thought his steadfast dedication to Benton Community Schools in multiple positions for 32 years was something to celebrate.

“While Gary has been in the same school district for many years, he has not lessened his concentration on continuous improvement, even though that process is sometimes difficult. He models lifelong learning and a passion for helping students. He will represent the superintendents of Iowa in an exemplary way,” shared selection committee chairperson and the 2015-16 award recipient Martha Bruckner of the Council Bluffs Community School District.

SAI Executive Director Roark Horn added, “Gary has served his district, his peers and the state with the highest degree of excellence and integrity as a superintendent. At SAI he is always at the top of our list when we need a leader with the utmost passion, skill and knowledge to help with training or events. This honor is well-deserved by an educational leader who is a role model for all of us!”

Prior to becoming superintendent, he served the district as a high school and elementary principal. He began his education career as a sixth-grade teacher in Shellsburg. A graduate of Wartburg College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Zittergruen also earned his master’s in educational administration from The University of Iowa.

“It is an honor and privilege to be selected as the SAI 2017 Superintendent of the Year! I am extremely grateful to my family, all the stakeholders at Benton Community, and my colleagues in the Grant Wood Area Education Agency region for nominating me for this award. I have truly been blessed to work as an educator in the Benton Community School District for the past 32 years and the last 18 as superintendent of schools. This recognition is a reflection on the many accomplishments of our students and staff and the wonderful support of the school community. As I have stated often, Benton Community is ‘a place to belong!’ ” Zittergruen expressed.

He was nominated by his peers and selected for the award by a committee of Iowa superintendents. Administrator of the Year recipients will be honored at a governor’s awards ceremony in late spring and SAI’s awards reception next August. He will also represent Iowa in the National Superintendent of the Year Program, sponsored by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.