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Kim Reynolds appoints Chad Aldis to lead Iowa Department of Education

Des Moines Register 3/8/2023 Stephen Gruber-Miller, Des Moines Register
Chad Aldis © Special to the Register Chad Aldis

Gov. Kim Reynolds has named a native Iowan and think tank vice president to be the new director of the Iowa Department of Education.

Chad Aldis will start as the department's director on March 15, Reynolds announced in a news release Wednesday.

He will replace departing Department of Education Director Ann Lebo, who announced last month that she would resign and explore new opportunities.

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Aldis is the vice president for Ohio policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, where he began working in 2013. In that role, he has testified to the state's Legislature in favor of private school choice and about school funding, charter school accountability and graduation requirements, according to his biography.

Before that, he served as the executive director of School Choice Ohio and has worked at the Florida Department of Education and for the Walton Family Foundation.

Aldis is a 1990 graduate of Clinton High School and attended the University of Northern Iowa before transferring to the University of Mississippi to earn a bachelor's degree in economics, according to the release. He later received a law degree from Florida State University, the release states.

"Like many Iowans, I owe much to the great public education I received. We need to make sure that today's students have the same opportunities to pursue their dreams," Aldis said in the news release. "That starts with all students leaving high school with the reading, math, and civics knowledge and skills to prepare them for either college or a career." 

In the news release, Reynolds emphasized that Aldis's career "has been focused on education reform," pointing to his efforts in Ohio to help change the state's high school graduation requirements, state report cards and charter school laws.

“Chad is the type of leader we need at this pivotal time for Iowa’s education system,” Reynolds said in the release. “His unique perspective will help lead reform within the department and across our schools so that every Iowa student — regardless of what school they attend — receives a quality education that prepares them to be successful in life."

More:Jubilant Kim Reynolds signs Iowa's seismic 'school choice' bill into law. What it means:

Earlier this year, Reynolds signed a sweeping "school choice" law that will allow every Iowa family to access up to $7,600 per student to pay private school costs like tuition and fees.

She's also pursuing a host of other changes to Iowa's education system, including changing school regulations, requiring high schoolers to pass a U.S. citizenship exam to graduate and prohibiting schools from teaching about gender identity in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Stephen Gruber-Miller covers the Iowa Statehouse and politics for the Register. He can be reached by email at or by phone at 515-284-8169. Follow him on Twitter at @sgrubermiller.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Kim Reynolds appoints Chad Aldis to lead Iowa Department of Education

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