If you haven’t heard of a director of teaching and learning, you’re not alone.
Kevin Vidergar says most people aren’t even aware the position exists due to the behind-the-scenes nature of the work, but he hopes to change all that. Why? Because as of July 1, Vidergar is the new director of teaching and learning within the Perry School District.
Vidergar says his responsibilities extend to every student and teacher in the district — kindergarten through 12th grade — and cover a wide variety of areas, such as overseeing curriculum adoption and working closely with teachers and principals. He also coordinates learning throughout the district by observing classrooms, evaluating teachers and leading teacher professional development.
“You can have very different groups of kids coming through year to year,” Vidergar says. “It challenges teachers continually to look at how are they teaching.”
Vidergar explains that his job is similar to that of a coach. He listens, asks questions and helps to make sure the teachers, principals and administrators are all teaching from the same page. His goal is to continuously improve the curriculum and teaching strategies throughout the district.
While his current position is considered an administrative role, Vidergar is no stranger to the classroom, having previously taught seventh grade math and science at Urbandale Middle School for five years. He later joined the Arrowhead Area Education Agency (AEA) in Fort Dodge and then the Heartland AEA in Johnston. From there he served as the curriculum director – director of teaching and learning in the North Polk Community School District for five years before accepting the position in Perry.
Vidergar says the diversity of the community and the school district’s English as a second language (ESL) program were primarily what drew him to Perry. ESL is of particular interest to him, having started the program at North Polk. To learn how to develop an ESL program, he participated in William Penn University’s Project Power Up.
“The purpose of that program was to help you become better at developing an effective ESL program,” Vidergar says. “I really enjoyed it.”
Now that the school year is well underway, Vidergar says he is looking forward to getting into the classrooms and building relationships with teachers, principals and the community. While he admits the wide responsibilities of his role can sometimes be a challenge, he also says it’s what makes the position so rewarding.
“It’s a variety,” Vidergar says. “For me it’s part of the fun of the job. No two days are ever the same.”