Sioux City Public Schools superintendent candidates answer questions at community forum

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:42 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Wednesday, the public learned more about the two candidates vying to serve as the new superintendent of the Sioux city Community School District. They are Dr. Rod Earleywine, and Dr. Geovanny Ponce.

Earleywine serves as Sioux City’s interim superintendent. Previously, he served as superintendent of the Sergeant Bluff-Luton School District.

Ponce serves as assistant superintendent of high schools for the Houston, Texas Independent School District.

Wednesday night, the two candidates were able to address the public’s questions at a “community conversation” at the Sioux City North High School Library Media Center.

Earleywine touted his experience, at SB-L and in Sioux City.

On top of the experience he’s gathered over the last seven months as Sioux City’s interim superintendent, Earleywine says he’s confident his previous experience-- both as a teacher and coach-- will help him succeed in a permanent position with the district.

”I see myself as a leader, the CEO of the Sioux City Community School District,” said Earleywine. “The Sioux City Community School District is the 3rd largest district in the state. But what I do each day in working with individuals, I still teach and I still coach. And it’s at the administrative level and working with administrators, but I think teaching and coaching them to be better is an important part of my job.”

Additionally, with this week’s signing of the “school choice” bill, Earleywine addressed his goal to make Sioux City’s public schools desirable for students and parents.

”What we have to do is we just have to keep getting better at the Sioux City Community School District,” said Earleywine. “We have to be a place where people want to come, where our families want to send their kids and keep their kids in school within our school district. That’s our mission.”

Earleywine also mentioned the importance of maintaining a positive relationship with the school board and making himself visible in school buildings to build relationships with students and faculty.

The other finalist is Dr. Geovanny Ponce, who serves as the assistant superintendent for high schools in the Houston Independent School District.

Ponce, a native of Honduras, has lived and worked in Texas for his entire life since coming to the United States.

He says he has loved the warm welcome he’s gotten from the community, and that he was both surprised and intrigued by Sioux City’s diverse population when researching the area.

He hopes he can provide a quality learning environment for children of all backgrounds here in Siouxland.

”That’s what I love,” said Ponce. “Provide quality education to the children. And children are all over. And so, if I can come and support and provide that, I’m more than happy. And I’m looking forward actually, that my knowledge is going to be utilized here to support the community in need.”

With a lawsuit recently filed by former superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman against four current members of the school board, Ponce fielded a handful of questions about stepping into that situation if he gets the job. He said he’s not worried about that. Instead, he’s focused on forming a winning team with the school board.

”What is important for me is what is ahead of me,” said Ponce. “The future. I see a bright future. I see me, myself, supporting all 22 schools, working on the same page with the seven board members, and being a team of eight and growing all together.”

Although Ponce will fly back to Houston, on Thursday, he’s hopeful that Wednesday night won’t be the last time he addresses the Sioux City community.

The Sioux City Community School Board will meet in a special session Thursday at 3:00 PM to discuss, and then announce, its pick for superintendent of schools.