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Janet Godwin elected president, as the Iowa City school board makes its second leadership change in three months

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Janet Godwin — photo by Zak Neumann

Janet Godwin was elected president of the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) Board of Directors during the board’s meeting on Tuesday. Godwin’s election followed Ruthina Malone’s resignation as president at the beginning of the meeting.

Malone had been elected president in September, at the first board meeting following the school board election earlier that month. Asked at the meeting if she wanted to make a statement regarding her resignation, Malone said, “No.”

On Monday, Malone posted a message on her Ruthina Malone for ICCSD School Board Facebook page to let supporters know she had decided to resign. “I will remain on the board and promise to continue to work hard to fulfill the vision for our school district you shared in casting your vote for me,” Malone wrote.

The role of Board President requires additional time on top of the responsibilities as a board member and a knowledge base that as a brand-new board member I feel I do not currently have to serve effectively. Even with all the preparation I did during the campaign, there is still a great deal to learn as a new board member. The combination of the new member learning curve and the additional responsibilities as President requires more time than I am able to volunteer, while sustaining a demanding career in university administration.

Like Malone, Janet Godwin is a newly elected member of the board. Godwin is the chief operating officer of ACT, and has served on the boards of both the ICCSD Foundation, which raises funds to support the district’s schools, and the Community Foundation of Johnson County, a “nonprofit organization that raises funds, manages resources and distributes grants to local nonprofit organizations.”

In an interview with Little Village when she running for school board, Godwin discussed her leadership experience.

I believe the amount of experience I have with leadership is something unique in my candidacy. I’ve sat on a number of boards. I served as president of the Iowa City Community School District Foundation for two years. I’m currently vice president of the Community Foundation of Johnson County’s board of directors. So, I know how boards function.

I also serve on our board at ACT, and have worked with very closely with it for the last six years. So, I’ve also personally felt what it’s like to sometimes have a board micromanaging. I think through these experiences, I’ve got a pretty good feel for that really interesting line you need to walk in terms of board governance that holds management responsible, but doesn’t try to reach in and micromanage.

Paul Roesler, who was elected to the board in 2016, was also nominated to succeed Malone. Godwin was sworn in as president immediately following her election, and presided over the rest of the board meeting.

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