Boley commits to learning as priority
By S. G. Barnes
While this year started off like no other for Bettendorf High School, there was one principle change: a new lead administrator.
Robert D. Boley began his career with the Des Moines Public School District in 1992 as a middle and high school teacher. He said he has many fond memories of that job.
“I would say that my favorite job was in the mid 90s teaching special education at East High School in Des Moines,” he said.
“It was working with the people and the students,” Boley said, “allowing the students to do things they had never done before, opening their eyes to what can be for them.”
Boley began his administrative career at Woodward-Granger Community Schools in 2001, and shortly thereafter served as an administrator at Valley High School, the 8th largest school in the state. Before coming to Bettendorf, he returned to Woodward-Granger as principal of their secondary school.
Woodward-Granger High School has an estimated enrollment of 275 students this year. Boley said that the small population allowed him to form individual relationships with the students. And with Woodward-Granger being a suburb of Des Moines, the school had a very suburban feeling.
With Bettendorf’s proximity to Davenport, it is often looked at as a suburb of a larger city. But Boley thinks otherwise.
“It’s a unique situation, coming from a suburban high school. According to all the charts. That’s what Bettendorf should be. But it doesn’t feel like that,” said Boley.
“Bettendorf is the largest small town school I’ve ever been to. It’s like everyone knows everyone and despite how huge it is it doesn’t stop those intimate relationships from forming,” he said.
Boley sees Bettendorf as a high school with a unique identity undefined by the cities around us and amplified by the people of the community.
“The people here are the nicest people I’ve ever met,” he said. “The staff, the students, even the kids who get in some trouble stop when they need to. It’s a different vibe. A great vibe.”
As such, Boley said that when he first came to Bettendorf he was eager to meet new people and gauge input from students. Since the beginning of the school year, he has formed the principal advisory board, a panel of seniors that help him make decisions.
“There’s not much written down about a school day-to-day. I can look up who graduated, but that doesn’t tell you what they were like in class. The working of day-to-day life is something I really wanted to hear from the seniors,” he said.
One thing that Boley said he valued above all else is the team he works with. He loves his administrative team, all teachers that help him reach decisions, and the support staff that make it all possible. Additionally, he values what he can hear from students.
“You guys are doing all the heavy lifting; balancing grades, work, sports, whatever it may be. Why wouldn’t I want to gauge your opinion? We can make things better, what you want can be accomplished but I need to hear that,” said Boley.
Looking forward, Boley hopes to hear much more from all students and staff. He said it is a priority for him this year to learn and to continue learning, which he plans to continue doing for the rest of his time here.
S.G. Barnes is a junior. This is his second year
as a staff writer for The Growl.