The Council Bluffs School District is doing what it’s never done before — put a woman in charge.
Martha Bruckner is being named as the new superintendent and she’s well aware of her distinction as the first female chief of the school system. "I’ve been the first woman to do several things in my profession, but I had some interesting advice from one of my colleagues. She said ‘If you’re the first woman doing something, you have to make sure you do it well because you’re representing a lot of women,’" Bruckner says. "That’s a heavy load to carry so I’ll try to do my best."
Bruckner’s first goal is to raise the percentage of Council Bluffs students who graduate in four years. "That is the challenge that people have mentioned to me the most. Ever since I interviewed with the board, it was a concern for the board. People who know Council Bluffs mentioned it" she says. "Our graduation rate right now is below 70 percent and that’s not acceptable. We want to get it to 100 percent as we soon as we possibly can."
The average graduation rate in Iowa is 91 percent. Bruckner says part of the problem may be a lack of motivation. "In order to motivate kids to graduate from high school and, more importantly, to be successful after graduation, we have to help them find the dreams they are meant to follow," she says.
She will spend much of the summer getting to know Council Bluffs’ current curriculum and faculty. Brucker comes to Council Bluffs from Millard Schools in Omaha, Nebraska.