Maranda Van Cleave made her move this year — from being a teacher to an administrator.
Van Cleave is the new principal of the Greene County Intermediate School and the East Greene School District elementary located in Grand Junction.
She comes to the job with eight years of experience teaching and a master’s degree in education leadership from Iowa State University in Ames. Van Cleave also received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an endorsement in reading.
She taught fifth grade for five years in the Ames school district and fourth grade for three years before moving into administration. Van Cleave is located at the school building in Grand Junction. East Greene Schools and Greene County Schools (formerly Jefferson-Scranton) have been grappling with declining enrollments. As a result, the higher grade levels in the two school districts, along with the athletics, were merged. Next year, the two districts will become the Greene County School District entirely.
“I know what its like to go through that kind of a transition, because that happened when I was going to school there,” she says. “I want students to be excited about change and growth. I remember the year of change at Boone as one of the best years of school for me. It was great.”
While she attended Boone schools initially, she graduated from high school at Eagle Grove after her family moved there.
Her father and mother, both educators, had a huge influence on her becoming a teacher and then an administrator, says Van Cleave, who is 32 years old.
Van Cleave’s enthusiasm is apparent in her talk and her smile. She is passionate about getting to know the students and about building relationships with students, parents and the community.
The students and parents are small-town area, which Van Cleave appreciates.
“You can get to know the people, the students and residents in a regular setting as regular people,” she says.
She says she is big on team work, whether team sports, or a group of people who work with students, from parents to caretakers, teachers and administrators.
Van Cleave said she brings a lot of energy to the job, and she hopes that helps others to be excited about school as well.
With all that, she also comes into the school district as a “big listener,” she says. She is already seeking feedback from teachers through a short survey about what they like to do, what books they read, sports they enjoy. That kind of information will help her connect with them on a deeper level.
Her philosophy on education is that students need to be engaged and active in their own learning so they have a buy-in to their education, as well as their parents and greater community.