Longtime Des Moines School Board Member Dies

  • Teree Caldwell-Johnson, a longtime member of Iowa’s Des Moines school board, died March 31 after battling cancer. She was 68.

    She was the longest-serving member of the Des Moines school board, first being elected in November 2006 until stepping down in March 2024. During her tenure, she served six years as chair or vice chair of the board.

    According to the Des Moines Register, Caldwell-Johnson's time on the board was marked by two national superintendent searches, the COVID-19 pandemic and work to improve the academic outcomes for students, including Black male students.

    “Teree’s years of leadership and service, to our school district and the entire community, are a remarkable legacy and a great memory for us to celebrate and find comfort in at this time,” said Jackie Norris, chair of the Des Moines school board. “We have lost someone who was a trailblazer as well as a mentor to so many people, helping everyone around her become a better person in their work.”

    “I have had the pleasure of working with several School Board members over the years, and Teree Caldwell-Johnson was in a class of her own,” said Des Moines Superintendent Ian Roberts. “Her dignity and grace combined with her determination and will has had a positive impact on countless lives. Des Moines Public Schools is a better place thanks to her nearly 18 years of service to our students, teachers, and families.”