Spencer Lueders’ office has a west-facing window that serves as a source of natural lighting, creating a welcoming, cheerful environment that matches the new principal’s demeanor.
Amidst the traditional Saber color scheme of purple and gold is a framed photograph on his desk; it’s strategically placed only a glance away from his computer screen. A young family smiles for the camera on the Sixth Avenue sidewalk. An older couple seated in lawn chairs in the background indicate that the Lueders were having a blast at one of DeWitt’s summer festivities.
“That’s my wife and our kids,” Lueders says.
The new Central DeWitt Intermediate School principal is clearly proud of his family and he speaks of them with the same cadence of a coach recognizing an exceptional athlete in a post-game press conference.
It’s not surprising. Coaching is in the Byrant native’s blood. He is the son of a wrestling coach, who introduced him and his brothers to the sport via a matted room in their home. Lueders was active in athletics throughout his academic career, and strongly believes the skills he learned on and off the mat translate to the classroom.
“It’s all about finding connections with students to find out what motivates them,” he explained.
The experience of working with first-graders as part of a high school volunteer program confirmed Lueders’ passion for education. After receiving his teaching degree, Lueders took a job at Ekstrand, where he drew noticeable comparisons between himself and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the film “Kindergarten Cop” due to his athletic build.
Life brought Lueders to various teaching and instructional coaching positions throughout Iowa, but he always vowed to come back to DeWitt. He enthusiastically described working with “fantastic administration, great teams of teachers, and the Central (DeWitt) community.”
This desire to play an important role in the community and the lives of its students is apparent in his excitement when talking about being a part of the Central DeWitt school system.
“I want everyone to know that they are welcome here: students, staff, parents. It truly takes a village to raise a child,” he says.
Lueders emphasizes student-centered learning, which encourages students to take control of their own personal education, fits well in the district.
A lifelong learner, Lueders makes an effort to read books and listen to podcasts related to education.
When outside of school Lueders enjoys spending time with the young family whose photo is displayed on his desk. He knows that his job is demanding but places his family first when out of the office.