Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WELLMAN — The Mid-Prairie school district named Brian Stone as its next superintendent Thursday morning. The current principal of Fairfield High School (and coincidentally, the brother of Washington Superintendent Willie Stone) will replace Mark Schneider, who will retire from the role in June after 41 years working in education.
“After careful consideration of all the options and feedback, Mr. Brian Stone was offered the position,” an announcement on the district Facebook Page said. “The board felt that Brian’s commitment to the district, leadership abilities and dedication to the job was the best option for the district long-term.”
Stone — who has a master’s degree in educational administration and teaching experience of his own — is set to take the position effective July 1, according to the news release.
Stone said his move from principal to superintendent marks the next step in his career journey, and that there “is not a better place for that to happen” than the Mid-Prairie School District. He said he is excited for his new role, where he will have the opportunity to be a “leader of leaders.”
Stone has been with Fairfield High School for 11 years, the first five of which were spent as the school’s assistant principal before moving into the head role. He said he’s thoroughly enjoyed his tenure in Fairfield.
“Fairfield has been a great place for me and my family,” Stone said. “I love our people and our students.”
School board president Jeremy Pickard said the group was confident in their choice.
“Stone is exactly the type of person that we were looking for here at Mid-Prairie,” he said. “Obviously any of the candidates that we put forward at the end, we felt, were strong candidates … but we just felt like Mr. Stone was the right fit moving forward and to take our district to the next level.”
Outgoing Superintendent Mark Schneider, who removed himself from much of the selection process, said the district would be in good hands.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about him from other sources,” he said. “I will do everything I can to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
Stone remarked on the fact that he will be joining his brother Willie as a superintendent in the same county.
“Willie has done a great job in Washington, and he’s enjoyed that role. I’m just as excited to be in that role,” Stone said.
Stone said he will become the third member of the family who has worked as a superintendent. In addition to Willie, Brian’s brother-in-law Dave Harper was the superintendent for Pekin and Sigourney schools.
“Finally, I don’t have to eat last at Thanksgiving,” Stone joked.
Stone said he visited with Schneider even before applying for the superintendent job. He learned that a survey was conducted with Mid-Prairie School District residents, and they said they wanted a superintendent who attended events and was active in the community.
“That’s who I am,” Stone said. “Mid-Prairie has done a lot of great things to set themselves up for success. They have very good open enrollment numbers, and I’m beyond thrilled that I get to be a part of their district as they continue to grow.”
Stone was born in Ottumwa and attended Pekin schools, graduating from Pekin High School in 1987. After college, he returned to Pekin to work as activities director and high school principal.
“Mid-Prairie is a little more of a rural district, and Pekin was very much a rural district, too,” Stone said. “That component is exciting, too, because there are similarities between the two.”