South Sioux City Schools Announce Superintendent Finalists

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SOUTH SIOUX — The South Sioux City Community School District has announced four finalists in the search for superintendents. Those finalists include Assistant Superintendent Ashley O’Dell.

Current superintendent Todd Strom recently announced that he will be retiring at the end of the school year after 33 years.

The four finalists are Jason Alexander, Derek Ippensen, Ashley O’Dell and Rony Ortega. Each individual will spend a day in the district and final interviews will be held on November 21 for the public to view.






Jason Alexander


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Jason Alexander is currently Superintendent of Beatrice Public Schools since 2018.

He holds a specialist education degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, a master’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and a bachelor’s degree in education from Chadron State College.

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He previously served as Superintendent and Principal of Ord Public Schools and Principal of Burwell Elementary School.







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Derek Ippensen


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Derek Ippensen has currently been Principal of Norfolk Public High School since 2018.

He holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership from Doane College, an Education Specialist degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, a Masters of Education from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and a Bachelor’s degree. in Education from Doane College.

He previously served as director of PK-12 at Shickley Public Schools and activity director, teacher and coach at Central Catholic School in West Point.







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Ashley O’Dell


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Ashley O’Dell is currently an assistant superintendent at South Sioux since 2021.

She holds a specialist education degree from Wayne State College, a master’s degree in educational administration from Wayne State College, and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of South Dakota.

She previously served as South Sioux City High School Principal and Vice-Principal.







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Rony Ortega


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Rony Ortega has currently been the principal of Bryan High School in Omaha for four years.

He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Nebraska – Omaha, a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Nebraska – Omaha, a Masters in Educational Counseling from the University of Nebraska – Omaha and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He previously served as executive director of academic support and supervision for the Omaha Public School District and principal of Buffett Magnet Middle School in Omaha.

The Board of Education has hired Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates to help with the nationwide search for the next superintendent. The district distributed a survey as well as focus groups throughout the community to determine what traits were sought in the next superintendent.

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