New Regional Administrators announced for Regions 6, 9 & 11

Graphic of Regional Administrators both retiring and incoming for 2021-22

Central Rivers AEA is pleased to announce the selection of two new team members to replace retiring members of the Regional Administrator team, along with an assignment change. 

Ryan Andreassen, currently a Consultant for School Improvement/Technology Integration serving Region 7, will replace Judy Moser in leading Region 6 as Regional Administrator. Judy is retiring from her position after 46 years of service in education.

Prior to coming to Central Rivers AEA in 2020, Ryan served as a PK-12 Instructional Coach and Professional Development lead at Jesup CSD. He also held roles at Jesup as a Specialist Instructor (Model Teacher) and 3rd grade classroom teacher. 

Amy Thoms-Starr, a Special Education Consultant serving Region 9, will move into the Regional Administrator role for Region 9. Heather Gould, currently the Regional Administrator for Region 9, will replace Dr. Karen Aldrich in Region 11. Karen announced her retirement this week having served in a variety of roles with the agency beginning in 1995.

Amy joined the agency in 2003 as a Special Education Consultant. Prior to that role, she served as a Special Education Teacher at Waterloo CSD. Amy has served as a poverty trainer, AEA mediator, and literacy team member during her career with the agency.

“We are fortunate to have had an abundance of talent in the pool of applicants for the Region 6 position and a late opening in Region 11,” said Sam Miller. “Both of the outgoing Regional Administrators leave big shoes to fill so it made sense to hit pause and thoughtfully consider where everyone would be placed. We think we’ve got it right and we are excited to see where these leaders will go with their new assignments. This is an exciting time for the agency and those we serve in Regions 6, 9 & 11.”

Honoring the work of Judy and Karen

Judy Moser started her career in education in 1973 at Sacred Heart School as a classroom teacher. In 1975, she joined the Area Education Agency system as a Special Education Teacher and went on to serve as Educational Strategist, School Psychologist, Special Education Administrative Intern, and Special Education Coordinator/Regional Administrator.

Judy leaves a legacy of service and leadership behind including pioneering work in the area of Standards Based Evaluation (SBE), which she will continue to guide on a part-time basis. “I’m deeply passionate about seeing this initiative fully implemented and I still have a tremendous amount of energy to give to the effort,” said Judy. “Still, I’m also looking forward to exploring other personal opportunities and a more relaxed pace of life.”

Dr. Karen Aldrich started her work in education at Marshalltown CSD where she began as a teacher of children with behavioral disorders. She served 12 years in Marshalltown before coming to the agency in 1995 as a Behavior School Improvement Facilitator. She later transferred to the role of Supervisor of Special Education before serving as a Special Education Coordinator/Regional Administrator.

Karen is perhaps best known for her leadership and advocacy for well-being and mental health supports. Her experience and depth of knowledge helped pave the way for today’s well-being initiative as part of the agency strategic plan. “My time as a teacher and the various roles in the AEA system have been so very rewarding. Working with each and every one of you has been my greatest joy in this incredible journey,” said Karen. “ I have learned so much from all of you and from those who have touched my life over my career. I am truly blessed!”


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Negotiations and settlement update

Last night, the Central Rivers AEA Board of Directors approved our recommended negotiation agreements, and we wanted to take the opportunity to share the information with you.

Given the fact that we are in a solid financial position and our cash on hand has increased the past few years, we reopened our previously agreed settlements to be a little more aggressive with our settlement. It is our hope that the change is received positively, and helps underscore our desire to provide raises and insurance benefits while maintaining our staffing levels and a balanced budget.  

Specifically, we were settled this year at 1.5%, but based on our current budget, strong solvency rate of 14%, and State Supplemental Aid (SSA) set higher than anticipated at 2.4%, we increased our settlement agreements.  We were able to achieve a salary raise and cover the premium increase for our single $2500 insurance plan.

Salary Information for 2021-22 (Total Package) 

Classified = 4.55% — .25 per hour to base wages

Certified = 3.08% — $360 to base salary

NUSS = 3.08%

Administration = 3.08%

Estimated New Money (2.4% SSA) = $360,000
Group Total Package (%) Total Increase ($)

*As of 2/15/20

Certified ($360 base) 3.08% $1,033,493
NUSS 3.08% $91,291
Admin 3.08% $133,304
CWA ($.25/hr) 4.55% $156,478
Total Cost (All Funds) $1,414,566

Insurance Information for 2021-22 

Our preliminary insurance renewal rate currently sits at a 16% increase. This is a large increase and impacts the amount of funds we are able to allocate to salary. The increase is due to our use and some of our larger claims. Of course, we wish this was not the case, but it is just our reality. The renewal rate would have been even higher if we were not self-funded.

Salary Information for 2022-23 — Total Package = 1.0% for all groups.

Into the future…

We continue to appreciate multi-year agreements that put us in a position to get our contracts out as soon as possible. Recently, we have been in a pattern of increasing our agreed upon settlement, based on our financial condition. We have tried to be aggressive the first year of the settlement, and continue to drop the percentage for the second year of the settlement. This allows us to be as aggressive as possible in the short-term, but provides a more conservative settlement should we need it for the subsequent year. Our desire is not to be in a position to have to use the lower settlement amount, but we are prepared if something out of our control impacts our financial picture.

We want to thank everyone for all their efforts, flexibility, and positive attitude this year. We hope that our efforts throughout this year have provided evidence that we value and support you personally and professionally. 

Please let us know if you have any specific questions, comments or concerns! 

Karl Kurt, Assistant Chief Administrator/Director of Human Resources

Michael Kalvig, Chief Financial Officer


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Congratulations to our staff with five years of service to the agency!

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Updated Emergency Procedures Manual now available

Central Rivers AEA recently updated the Emergency Procedures Manual which includes a series of procedures to follow in various emergency situations and cases of illness or injury. The manual also lists specific emergency information for each office location including contact information for the first responders and locations of first aid supplies and equipment. 

Spiral bound copies will be available at each office and Rivers Hills School. The manual can be downloaded/viewed on the staff website under Resources > Emergency Procedures & Crisis Response Team Manual. 

Please contact Human Resources if you have any questions or concerns. 

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IT Updates

Zoom – Background Noise Suppression
The Zoom client has settings that allow the utilization of noise suppression, which can help remove distracting sounds that can be picked up by participants’ microphones. Background noise like paper crunching, keyboard typing, fan humming, and dog barking can be filtered out to create a better meeting experience.  By default, Zoom automatically applies background noise reduction, however the settings can be adjusted to be more or less aggressive based on the environment.

  1. Within the Zoom meeting, select the caret (^) from the microphone icon and choose Audio Settings.
  2. Under the Suppress Background Noise section, choose your preferred level of noise suppression.

Zoom – Additional Virtual Backgrounds Available
Central Rivers AEA has recently added several additional virtual Zoom backgrounds to the available bank of options.  The virtual background feature allows users to display an image or video as your background during a meeting.

  1. Within the Zoom meeting, select the caret (^) from the camera icon and select Choose Virtual Background.
  2. Within the Background & Filters section, choose your preferred virtual background.

Zoom – Security Updates
Zoom regularly provides updated versions of the desktop client and mobile app to release new features and security enhancements, so we recommend checking for updates on a regular basis.  

If you have any questions or need technical assistance with any of the above information, please contact the Help Desk at 319.273.8231 or

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