Northeast Hamilton School Supt. Patrick Hocking has announced he will be leaving the district to take a similar position in the Lisbon, Iowa community school district.
Hocking will serve as the superintendent of the Lisbon CSD beginning July 1. The Lisbon CSD is a K-12 program with an enrollment of 686 students. The district has a new infant and pre-Kindergarten day care program which Hocking will also oversee.
Lisbon is a community with a population of about 2,200 and is located between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
Hocking admitted that being closer to his aging parents in Galena, IL and to his wife Melissa's home state of Michigan were the main reasons behind the change.
"We focused our search to eastern Iowa," he said.
Hocking's tenure at NEH spanned the better part of his professional career. Except for five years at the Clearfield, Iowa school district where he taught reading, physical education and Iowa history, Hocking has served 19 years at Northeast Hamilton as principal. Last year, the district named him to the superintendent post.
"I told the staff that I have been at Northeast Hamilton for the longest period than any other place in my life," said Hocking of his announcement to the school staff last week. "I left home for college at the age of 18, so my time at NEH has been the longest tenure in my entire life."
Hocking takes great pride in helping Northeast Hamilton navigate through its first successful year of partial day sharing with Webster City. In addition, Hocking expanded the district's scope of technology in the classroom.
"I just got to a point in my career that I wanted a new challenge," said Hocking.
The Lisbon CSD is similar to NEH in that it is focused on one-on-one learning, said Hocking.
"It is an up-and-coming school district - very progressive," said Hocking. "But it is a small school with the same values as NEH".
The NEH school district will face a double administrative loss as school CFO and business manager, Suzie Fiscus is expected to resign at the end of the current school year.
Fiscus was named to the school position last year. She and her husband Brian will be relocating to Bethel, CT due to his job transfer with Eaton Corp.
The NEH School Board will conduct a special meeting on Tuesday night in order to receive the resignations of both Hocking and Fiscus, said the superintendent.
Both positions have been advertised, Hocking said.
Hocking said he will assist the district in finding a replacement and that current NEH Principal Dennis Bahr will also be active in the process.
Hocking admits his decision to leave the district is bittersweet.
"I have no regrets, but it is very hard," he said. "I have built some strong relationships with the students and it is very hard to leave."