Area native Jay Mathis to begin his tenure as superintendent of the same district where his own education began

Coming home ... New Allamakee Community School District Superintendent Jay Mathis (far right) is pictured with his mother and father, Bob and Jean Mathis of rural Waterville. Jean Mathis taught at Waterville Elementary School for 30 years and her father, Robert McLeese, served as Superintendent of the Waterville School District.

by Brianne Eilers

The beginning of the 2018-2019 school year is right around the corner and this year the Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) will begin a new school year with a new superintendent.

Jay Mathis is no stranger to the Waukon area or the ACSD. He was raised in rural Allamakee County and graduated in 1982 from Waukon High School. His wife, the former Maria Welsh, is also a 1982 WHS graduate and they both have family still living in the area.

Mathis spent the first 13 years of his career in education teaching math and coaching football and track. His first teaching/coaching job was with Garner-Hayfield schools in central Iowa. He then went on to teach and coach for the Decorah school district.

From there, Mathis began his career in administration at Clear Lake, where he was the assistant principal and athletic director. He held that position for five years and then moved to the position of high school principal for another seven years. His first superintendent position came with the Eldora-New Providence School District in central Iowa, where Mathis was the superintendent for six years.

“I also spent a year in a shared position with Gladbrook-Reinbeck to help with a transition between superintendents,” Mathis noted of his time with the Eldora-New Providence School District.

While they had not been living in the ACSD area for quite some time, Mathis says that he and his family would come back to visit their relatives, sometimes attending games and events to watch nieces and nephews perform. When the superintendent position came open this past year with the ACSD, Mathis says there were several things that drew him to apply, from the school district’s facilities to the partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College.

“There are great things going on here,” he said. Mathis also stated that even though he’d been away from the area for 31 years and his own children are out of school, he still cares about the community and wants to make sure that the students enrolled in the ACSD and future generations have the “same great opportunities to enjoy what the students have today.”

One big positive that Mathis has seen within the ACSD is the willingness of the staff to listen to what students are interested in. “I really feel the staff and school board have tapped into Allamakee students’ needs and provided opportunities,” he says. “The 21st Century grant and the principals’ willingness to try what students are interested in is important.”

He has also been impressed with the leadership, from the administration to the school board to the teaching and support staff. He feels that they are not afraid of hard work and keep a positive attitude in order to make things work. He hopes to continue to maintain programming to provide students with opportunities they are looking for.

With the new school year beginning this month, Mathis says that he is looking forward to this great opportunity - not only for himself, but also for his wife and family.

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