MUSCATINE, Iowa–March 9, Muscatine Community School District announced that Ryan Castle will serve as Muscatine High School’s next principal, pending school board approval. Castle will begin his new position July 1, following the retirement of current principal Terry Hogenson. A Muscatine native with many years of teaching and administrative experience, Castle brings vast local and professional knowledge with him to his new role.
A graduate of Muscatine High School with many members of his and his wife’s families living in the city, Castle knew that after he finished college he hoped to return to his hometown. He remembers, “we decided that when we had a family, we wanted to come back around.”
After teaching science for a year at Davenport North High School, Castle eagerly accepted the chance to teach chemistry and physics and Muscatine High School in 2003. For the next 10 years he enjoyed that role, but he realized he wanted to play an even bigger part in local education. He shared, “in the end, I felt like I wanted to make a difference for more than the 120 kids I saw a day, and administration gave me a chance to have an impact on even more kids and the system.” From 2013 to 2017, he worked as the principal of Colorado Elementary School before stepping into the role of district director of operations for the past five years.
Though Castle enjoyed the challenge of managing and preparing for the district’s needs, he missed working to improve students’ educational experiences more directly and welcomed the chance to return to the high school. “Being the director of operations is great, especially with the long-term planning, but I wanted to have more education focused conversations,” he said.
As Castle prepares to step into his new role, he relishes the chance to keep growing Muscatine High School’s programming and to providing multiple pathways to college and career readiness. “I’m excited to keep expanding the offering for kids,” he stated. In the future, he hopes to forge more partnerships with local businesses to provide internship opportunities for students and to collaborate with Muscatine Community College to offer more joint programs.
Castle also looks to partner with the community to highlight the importance of regular school attendance to help improve both daily attendance and graduation rates. To that end, he plans to eventually hold conversations with faculty and staff at the high school, parents, and students to learn about their needs and expectations and to discover ways to work with them to build a culture that supports education for everyone.
Though Castle has spent a lot of time at Muscatine High School, first as a student and now as a teacher, he feels both eager and a little nervous about coming back as principal. “It’s kind of surreal really; I’m looing back to when I was a teacher starting there as well, and there’s a little excitement and trepidation.”
Even so, Castle looks forward to giving his all to make his community and school district a better place: “Besides being a Muscatine native, my son is going to graduate this year and my daughter is a freshman. My wife and I are really invested in Muscatine and want to make it better for people.”