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Bettendorf School District holding meet the candidates forum for superintendent finalists

According to school officials, the Bettendorf Community School Board of Education has selected the assistant superintendent at the Human Resources Newhall School District in Valencia, California, Michelle Meredith Morse (right) and the current superintendent at the Newton Community School District in Newton, Iowa, Robert Callaghan (left). (KWQC)
According to school officials, the Bettendorf Community School Board of Education has selected the assistant superintendent at the Human Resources Newhall School District in Valencia, California, Michelle Meredith Morse (right) and the current superintendent at the Newton Community School District in Newton, Iowa, Robert Callaghan (left). (KWQC)(KWQC)
Published: Jan. 30, 2020 at 3:12 PM CST
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After the

they narrowed down the list of superintendent candidates to five, the two finalists have now been named.

According to school officials, the Bettendorf Community School Board of Education has selected the assistant superintendent at the Human Resources Newhall School District in Valencia, California, Michelle Meredith Morse and the current superintendent at the Newton Community School District in Newton, Iowa, Robert Callaghan.

The two will go to the school district on Thursday, Feb. 6 for additional interviews with stakeholder groups including staff, students, parents and community members.

The public is invited to attend and meet the candidates at community forums at Mark Twain Elementary School, 1620 Lincoln Rd.

One candidate will be available for public questions from 6 to 6:50 p.m., the other 7 to 7:50 p.m.

The public is asked to come at 5:30 p.m. to submit questions for the candidates. Attendees may complete impression forms to share input with the school board. Both finalists will be asked the same questions at the forum.

The board on Thursday evening will then have a second interview with the two finalists and review the feedback. The board intends to vote on its selection of the new superintendent at the February 18 school board meeting.

"The Bettendorf Community School District superintendent search has been conducted with the assistance of the search firm Ray and Associates," officials said in a release. "The search process included many hours of reviewing application materials, interviewing semi-finalist candidates and carefully assessing the qualifications of candidates in relation to the candidate profile determined by the board, district employees and community members. The board evaluated 8 applicants from a pool of 36 and interviewed three before narrowing the search to two finalists. Note: the board asked five candidates for interviews. Two accepted job offers prior to the interview dates."

You can read more about the two finalists below.
Michelle Meredith Morse, Ed.D.

Dr. Michelle Meredith Morse has more than 25 years of experience in public education and currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources for the Newhall School District in Valencia, California. Prior she was the West Coast Education Director for Generation Ready, based in New York. Morse also has experience as the Director of Special Education in Conejo Valley Unified School District in Thousand Oaks, CA. She has also worked with Saugus Union School District in Santa Clarita, California as Director of Child Development Programs, Program Specialist for Student Support Services and Summer School Principal. She has served as Adjunct Faculty for the University of Southern California Doctor of Education Program as well as College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA in Early Childhood, Allied Health and Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Program.

Dr. Morse has her Doctorate of Education from the University of Southern California. Her dissertation is titled Strategies Used by Superintendents in Developing Leadership Teams. She received Professional Administrative Services Credential Tier II from Champman University, San Diego, CA. In addition she has an M.A. in Educational Leadership and an M.A. in Special Education-Early Childhood Special Education from California State University. She also has a B.A. in Speech Language Pathology/Audiology from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL.

Robert Callaghan

Robert Callaghan has 24 years of experience in education and is currently the Superintendent of the Newton Community School District in Newton, IA. Previously, he was the superintendent at Rogers Independent School District in Rogers, TX. He served in the Borger Independent School District in Borger, TX as Assistant Superintendent for K-16 Transitions/Non-Instruction and as a principal for Borger High School. He has also been a principal for Temple High School in Temple Independent School District in Texas and Assistant Principal in South Houston High School in the Pasadena Independent School District in Texas.

Callaghan has a Superintendent Certification from West Texas A&M University, an MS in Educational Management from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, an M.Ed. Heath & P.E. and Texas teaching certificate from Pan American University in Edinburg, TX. He also has a BA in Psychology from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. In addition, Callaghan is working on his Ph.D. in the School of Education at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.

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