Lolli Haws, chief administrator of Green Hills Area Education Agency, has announced that she will retire effective June 30, 2022.
Her resignation was officially accepted by the agency’s board of directors Monday night.
It’s her fourth year at Green Hills but her 46th year in education, Haws said.
“It seems like a good time” to retire, she said. “The agency is in great shape, we have strong leadership. It’s a good time for me to spend more time with my husband and my family.”
Haws is glad for the progress made on providing mental health support for students and the Rising Hope Academy.
“The majority of our districts now have social work counselors,” she said.
The agency is also more advanced on compiling and disseminating data, as well as providing technical support to schools, Haws said. It has helped school districts connect with the E-Rate program, which helps them get substantial discounts on information technology equipment.
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Green Hills has trained more than 600 teachers to teach classes online, she said. That, of course, was crucial to school districts during pandemic-induced closures and remote learning.
Haws grew up on a farm in southwestern Minnesota and attended school in Ruthton, Minnesota, a city of about 240 people in Pipestone County. It was there that the seeds were planted for her future career.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” she said in a previous interview. “In first grade, I told my teacher I wanted to be a teacher just like her.”
She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education at Augustana University and her master’s degree at Southern Illinois University. She received her doctorate at St. Louis University.
Haws picked deaf education as her initial focus and began her career as a teacher at South Dakota School for the Deaf and as a teacher of deaf students at St. Louis County Special School District.
“I fell in love with that aspect of teaching,” she said. “I really immersed myself in the culture.”
Haws became a fluent signer and a certified interpreter, she said.
“I’ve been an interpreter for many years, as well as a teacher,” she said.
Haws served as an elementary principal at Webster Groves School District in St. Louis and Francis Howell School District in St. Peters, Missouri, over the course of 13 years. She served three years as an instructional superintendent for the District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C., and four years as superintendent of Racine (Wisconsin) Unified School District before coming to Council Bluffs.
Haws said she was interested in an AEA position because of its emphasis on special education and professional development. She started on July 2, 2018, succeeding Lane Plugge.
Haws and her husband own a home on a lake in northern Minnesota, so they plan to spend the warmer months there and winter in the St. Louis area, she said. Her mother and siblings still live in southwestern Minnesota.
“I’ll always remember the people here in Iowa as the most genuinely passionate and warm,” she said. “It’s really been wonderful to end my career here.”