The Southeast Polk Community School District has named Nathan Ballagh as the new Willowbrook Elementary Principal. Ballagh’s contract was approved by the Southeast Polk Board of Education during their regular meeting on April 4, 2019, and he assumes his duties on July 1, 2019.  

Ballagh began his teaching career here at Southeast Polk High School in 2004 where he taught as a social studies teacher for seven years.  He then served as the Southeast Polk Junior High Associate Principal for four years from 2011 – 2015.

Currently, Ballagh comes from Westridge Elementary School in West Des Moines where he has served as the building principal from 2015-2019.  While there, his building has been nationally recognized as a Model PLC School and has fully implemented an innovative STEM Learning Program including a state of the art STEM Lab. They were also recognized by Governor Reynolds as an exemplary school.  During his tenure at Westridge, he has also helped close the achievement gap for EL students and implemented an MTSS framework to provide a personalized learning experience for every student.

Dr. Dirk Halupnik, Southeast Polk Superintendent, shared, “We are happy to welcome Nathan back to Southeast Polk.  He brings a strong skill set and experience in the areas of instruction, collaboration, culture and relationships, technology, and STEM education.”

Ballagh received a Bachelors of Arts Degree in History and Education and Masters of Education Leadership Degree from the University of Northern Iowa.  He has also received his Special Certificate for Superintendency from the University of Northern Iowa.

“I am excited about the opportunity to serve the students, staff, and families of Willowbrook.  I am ready to get started on day one by building positive relationships with the Willowbrook community and learning more about the valued traditions of the school.  Willowbrook is a special school for me as I attended there the first two years that it opened. I am ready to give back to the school and community that helped raise me,” shared, Ballagh.

Ballagh lives in the Southeast Polk School District with his wife Melissa and three young boys.  As a family, they enjoy spending time outdoors and camping.  He coaches multiple youth sports and enjoys volunteering in the community. “My wife Melissa and I are both SEP graduates and are excited to serve this great community.”