ELDON — In order for a community to thrive and show promise for the future, the right individuals have to take the leadership reins.
Anyone who visits Cardinal Community School District can see the positive impacts that Superintendent Joel Pedersen has made since taking the position in 2010. To show what his hard work has meant to the community, Pedersen was nominated by the Ottumwa Leadership Academy for the John C. Maxwell Leadership Award, and he was informed on Thanksgiving Day that he was a finalist in the education category.
The national award, being presented this year for the first time, will be given to an individual whose achievements, contributions and qualifications make them leaders in their given profession. The top individuals from 10 different categories, including education, business, faith-based, government and others, will make up the finalists, with the most deserving nominee being given the award and grand prize of $25,000.
Pedersen was nominated for all of the work he has done at Cardinal Community School District. In his short time there, Pedersen has presided over many school projects while leading the education of students in the right direction.
“We have a lot of good things happening in our district,” he said. “We have a lot of leadership happening currently … and in turn, a lot of good things are happening for the kids.”
Some of the many accomplishments Cardinal has reached since Pedersen has been on board include getting a $550,000 grant for a FEMA safe room in 2012, seeing the highest graduation rate in the school’s history at 98.51 percent in the 2012-13 school year, increasing open enrollment, leading a Safe School Certification, increasing professional development by 40 percent and winning a Spirit of the Community award for 2013.
With all of those accomplishments, it is easy to see why Pedersen has been nominated for an award dealing with leadership. But, according to him, it is the school corporation as a whole that is behind the success at Cardinal.