Heather Buckley of Cardinal is Iowa Elementary Principal of the Year

From sai-iowa.org on



Heather Buckley

Heather Buckley, principal of Cardinal Elementary in the Cardinal Community School District, has been named the 2022 Iowa Elementary Principal of the Year by the School Administrators of Iowa.

“Heather Buckley has many accomplishments as a school leader yet is perhaps best known for her ability to provide others exactly what they need to get the best out of themselves. Students, staff, parents and colleagues are all the beneficiaries of her caring and compassionate leadership” said SAI Executive Director Roark Horn.

She has been principal at Cardinal since 2014 and was previously a shared curriculum director for Cardinal and Pekin Community School Districts. Her career began as a second grade teacher. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Iowa, a master’s in education curriculum and instruction from the University of St. Mary in Overland Park, Kan., and her PK-12 principal/PK-12 special education supervisor and evaluator license from the University of Iowa.

When asked about a core leadership value she hopes to model, Buckley emphasized, “Building a happy and safe culture is my top priority. It’s my goal to lead with compassion and ensure each and every student and staff member know that they are valued and appreciated. Leading with a positive attitude brings reciprocal responses to our community, school board, staff, and most importantly our students.”

She was nominated by her peers, selected by a committee of Iowa elementary principals and will be recognized at the association’s Annual Conference. The National Association of Elementary School Principals will also honor her as a National Distinguished Principal.