Steve Hanson Revealed

Lindsey Jackson · Wednesday, July 10, 2013
He's a man you will see riding his bike around town, eating lunch with elementary students, participating in community service events or at a Rotary meeting, enjoying a festival or cheering at a high school sports game. Steve Hanson is pretty much everywhere you go. He is also the new West Liberty Rotary president.

Laid back and able to hold an interesting conversation, he said working in the field of education is as good as it gets, but mentioned he could have also gone into the field of radio or news broadcasting.

Steve accepted the position of superintendent at the West LIberty Community School District in April of 2011 after applying to many districts.

"When I was applying for different openings for superintendent, West Liberty was my number one choice," he said. "This is where I really hoped to go because of the international nature of the school district."

Steve was born and raised in Southwest Iowa near Council Bluffs and graduated from Loras College in Dubuque with a BS in math and a teaching certificate. After graduating he took off to Rome, Italy, where he studied theology at Pontifical Gregorian University for two years.

He headed back to the states and began teaching high school math in Council Bluffs. From there he ventured to Brazil and taught in American schools for 15 years where he learned to speak Portuguese. While in Brazil, he earned a Masters of Education which allowed him to take the position of administrator at a school in Rio De Janeiro.

Steve said he watched the evening news and compared the news to the newspaper to better understand the language.

"When you live somewhere you should learn the language of the place," he said. "I learned by hearing it (Portuguese) and seeing it, and through conversations, such as paying the guy on the bus, or talking to the guy who fixes the television."

After his time in Brazil, Steve decided to come back to Iowa where he accepted a position as assistant principal within the Ottumwa School District. After six years he was promoted to principal.

When asked about his hobbies he claimed to have none, other than participating in West Liberty events.

"I don't fish, I don't skateboard," he said. "Between school work, community service and church I go to a lot of entertaining events."

When asked what keeps him occupied, he said he spends most of his time thinking about how to improve the West Liberty school district. Currently, he is brainstorming ways to improve students' achievement by inviting family members to participate more with children.

"Follow through with what children read and then discuss that with them. If they spend at least 15 minutes per day reading and then have a short discussion it makes a difference," Steve said.

He also spoke about building a committee to research the pros and cons of year-round school. He hopes to establish a committee during the 2013/2014 school year. If feedback supports year-round school he said it is likely that schedule could be begin for the 2014/2015 year.
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