Over his first six months, Olin’s new superintendent, Mark Dohmen, has spent time trying to get to know the community and the staff, attempting to meet with area businesses throughout the course of the summer. He saw the support the local businesses had as most sent representatives to help serve a holiday meal for seniors held at the school.

“It’s small town Iowa. You can’t get any better than that,” he said.

Five years after having to go to the School Budget Review Committee, Dohmen said he feels like the district has turned things around and they are now in a position to do things financially that they couldn’t have back then. He replaced Superintendent Dave Larson when Olin entered into a sharing agreement with North Cedar and praised the work that his predecessor did.

“I’m very confident that Mr. Larson did an excellent job the last couple of years with finances,” he said. “I’m very happy with where Olin is financially.”

A financial report, including trends within the district, will be shared with the board at their January meeting.

There are a number of issues, including finances, that Dohmen and the school board are working on currently as the calendar shifts to 2020. He applauded the board members for their buy in, as all five went to the annual Iowa Association of School Boards meeting in November.

In addition to school finances, the district has been discussing things like school safety, mental health and things that can be done in the classroom to be more innovative moving forward. On the latter point, Dohmen said the teachers have been very willing to try new things, while also concentrating on math and reading.

As a district, Dohmen and the board are having “fierce conversations” about where they want the district to be five or six years down the road.

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