New principal hired in Lake Mills school district

Published 6:04 pm Friday, February 24, 2023

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Madson will begin in August

Lake Mills has a new junior/senior high school principal after the Lake Mills Community School District Board of Education named Steve Madson as sixth- through 12th-grade principal.

Steve Madson will start as Lake Mills Community School junior/senior high principal in July 2023

“I saw that there was an opening for Lake Mills,” Madson said, referring to a posting on Teach Iowa. “… I’ve always thought it would be a great place to work.”

He would know, as he currently resides in Lake Mills, and noted every year he has been involved in education he had stopped by and visited the superintendent.

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“When (current Secondary Principal) Jim Scholbrock started, I think 24 years ago, I would visit him as well,” he said. “I’ve just always had a love for Lake Mills and just tried to stay connected that way.”

Madson admitted serving as a building administrator meant evaluating staff and making buildings a place where all students, regardless of their backgrounds, could learn.

His passion for education started after he graduated high school, and after three years working in Winnebago County and Northwood he decided he needed to do something different and attend college.

Inspired by his own high school teacher at Lake Mills, he decided to enter a teaching profession.

Madson himself graduated from Lake Mills Community School in 1985, and spent several years away from north Iowa in Waterloo and in Texas for 14 years.

“Always knew that I would eventually get back up to north Iowa,” he said.

Madson brings over 20 years of school administration experience, and he described himself as having a passion for seeing children succeed, and that’s what motivated him to go to work every day.

He said one of his first goals upon taking over will involve being present, listening and learning every day.

“I think it’s only through doing that that I’m going to be able to best apply any skill set that I’ve developed over my career to help them … continue on a path moving forward,” he said.

Madson currently serves as kindergarten through 12th grade assistant principal at North Iowa Community School District, which is located in Buffalo Center, roughly 23 miles west of Lake Mills.

He noted the districts were similar, a fact he said was common for most schools in northern Iowa.

Prior to that, he worked at Hampton-Dumont as director of innovative programs to develop an off-campus alternative program, and also worked to establish Hampton-Dumont as a registered apprentice program sponsor. From 2010 to ’21 he served as high school principal there, where “he implemented and worked with professional learning communities, teacher leadership and compensation, led work on effective grading practices, positive behavioral supports and interventions, and trauma informed school training.”

According to Madson, Hampton-Dumont has around 400 students at the high school, though he said the largest number of students was around 500.

He has also served as an interim superintendent, assistant superintendent and elementary principal in Texas. There he also worked on grading reform, training for trauma-informed schools and Positive Behavioral Interventions Support.

His proudest accomplishment, he said, was his ability to build relationships with all types of students.

“I try to listen, and I think by listening actively and learning from what anyone has to say you’re better able to figure out how you can help,” he said. “I’d say that’s probably my biggest accomplishment is just learning how to do that over a lot of years of experience.”

To students and staff in the district, he wants them to know he’ll care about what they care about.

“That’s seeing our kids be successful,” he said.

Madson has a master’s degree from Tarleton State University and a bachelor’s from the University of Northern Iowa, where he majored in biology and chemistry.

Madson, who lives in Lake Mills, will replace Jim Scholbrock, and will begin his duties Aug. 1.

Besides attending Lake Mills Community School, he was born there. Madson, who lives on a farm, is married with four children and four grandchildren, two in Hampton and two in Wisconsin.

“It’s great to be living back in what I’ve always considered as my home,” he said.