Marcus Haack

Marcus Haack, black and white photograph
When Marcus Haack joined the University of Iowa College of Education Educational Administration faculty in 2002, he brought with him a wealth of experience. He had served as a teacher, principal, superintendent, as head of the curriculum bureau at the Iowa Department of Education, and as associate director of the School Administrators of Iowa. He retired in the summer of 2015 as clinical associate professor in the Educational Leadership Program.

Beth Basinger, an English teacher at Adel-DeSoto-Minburn High School in Adel, Iowa, hopes to finish her Educational Administration degree in 2016. She says Haack’s real-world experiences have made a world of difference to her as his student.

“He’s climbed the same ladder we aspire to climb,” Basinger says. “He has lived this life we aspire to live and is willing to share everything he has learned from the experiences he’s had.”

Though Haack has retired from the College of Education, his work continues to impact his students.

Kim Sleezer, who is studying to earn her principal licensure in 2017, says Haack has been an inspiration to her.

“I vowed after my first meeting with Dr. Haack that I needed to work harder to make the students in my own life feel as important as I had been made to feel after meeting Dr. Haack,” says Sleezer, who is also a teacher at Excelsior Middle School in Marion, Iowa. “In a world where we are all ‘connected’ but rarely feel as if these connections are meaningful, Dr. Haack inspired me to be a better educator and leader because of the time he took to listen to my goals and future aspirations.”

Haack has also seen his program grow and evolve during his time at the college. The program shifted from being campus-based to entirely online, allowing students from all geographical areas to become Hawkeye leaders.

“In my last semester, I had students from Ida Grove, Webster City, Harlan, Illinois, and up on the Minnesota line,” Haack says. “I’ve even had international students from Columbia, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.”

One thing Haack says has been important to him is continuing to build personal connections and a sense of community, even when students are meeting electronically rather than face to face.

“Dr. Haack has a knack for building relationships with people,” says Basinger, whose husband, Chris Basinger, is also an Educational Leadership graduate and now principal of Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Iowa. “Dr. Haack believes people are the most important factor in education and I know that because of his influence, the same will be true for me in my role as a future school educator.”

Haack is leaving his position at the college to pursue a new life as an ordained minister, but he says the work is closely related.

“I’m not trying to preach religion here by any means, but if you administer a school, you are ministering,” Haack says says. “Your job is to clear the path, to provide resources so that people can perform, and to minister to their needs. That, to me, is what a successful leader does.”