Ellen Recker has already made Strawberry Hill Elementary’s principal office her own, adorning the wall with art from her children.


It’s been quite a month for Ellen Recker.

Recker got married July 6 and is replacing the recently-retired Val Daily as the new principal for Strawberry Hill Elementary.

Recker comes to Anamosa after three years as the elementary principal at Hampton-Dumont and time as the elementary and middle school principal at Schaller-Crestland for the 12 years before that. Starting her educational career as a fifth-grade teacher, Recker moved to administration to have an increased impact.

Her previous experience at Schaller-Crestland in particular, where she was daycare director and principal of the early childhood program gives her insight that will be useful in her new role. As she was getting ready to take on the new position, she said her predecessor Val Daily and Assistant Principal Erik Johnson have been crucial in getting her up to speed on the elementary.

“They have been tremendous and very integral in the transition,” she said.

Recker was able to sit in on a discussion about what the vision of the district is before she officially started. What she took away from that meeting was how tight-knit a group those at Strawberry Hill were, with the unified goal of providing the best education for the students.

“Everybody that I’ve met with, from the administrative team, to our instructional coaches and the assistant principals, everybody is very passionate and dedicated to Anamosa,” she said.

That, as well as meetings held with the leadership team over the courses of the summer, means she feels she has a “solid foundation” at heading into the school year.

Recker was able to get an early start on things and get to know the community a little bit before she even officially started. She’s taken the summer to tour around the community, which she says has been open and welcoming.

A veteran of the PBIS system used by the school district, she plans on working closely with the building’s PBIS team to ensure the proper student supports are in place to address behavioral needs so students can excel academically. Another major goal is to build relationships within the staff, which is one of the things she’s looking forward to most, so they can thrive as leaders.

As she gets ready for the start of school next month, she expects she’ll feel the same about the new school year as many of her students will.

“I’m kind of like a little kid because as kids come in, they’re excited to meet their teachers, but they’re also nervous. I’m excited and nervous also,” she said.

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