Sep 6, 2023 - Education

How Des Moines superintendent Ian Roberts starts his day

ian roberts talking to students in classroom

Superintendent Ian Roberts visits with Des Moines students. Photo: Courtesy of DMPS

Don't expect Des Moines Superintendent Ian Roberts to be lounging around when the alarm clock goes off.

What they're saying: The former Olympic runner "religiously" starts each day with a three to five-mile run as a way to destress and feel energized, he tells Axios.

  • "I'm loving Des Moines' trails," he says.

Driving the news: As Roberts leads the district for the first time this school year, he plans on taking a hands-on approach and observing classrooms, plus holding regular open forums with parents.

  • "It's important for all of our students and parents to know that I am accessible," he says.

Here's how Des Moines' new superintendent starts his day:

Wake up: 5am.

🍳 Breakfast: A smoothie or cup of tea. "I'm not a breakfast person at all."

📚 What he's reading: The first thing Roberts looks for is a motivational quote. Then he jumps into emails.

  • The quote he's most recently enjoyed is by Nelson Mandela: "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."

💡 Pro tip: For educators of color who are interested in rising to leadership positions, Roberts recommends they be themselves. Code-switching is sometimes to their detriment, he says.


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