Stillwater schools Superintendent Corey Lunn said this week he is leaving to take the same position at a school system in Iowa.

Lunn, 47, will become the schools chief of Johnston Community School District, which draws its 6,700 students from five towns, including Johnston and Des Moines. Lunn, who previously led the 1,200-student Montgomery-Lonsdale School District in rural Minnesota, has been in Stillwater since 2011.

He said a number of factors weighed into his decision to leave. Among them were the prospect of going to a school district on firmer financial footing and moving to be closer to his wife's family.

 “It’s interesting to note that in Iowa there’s a sales tax that goes back to the schools to maintain and build buildings," he said in a brief interview Tuesday. "It's not so levy-heavy as it is in Minnesota.”

He will take over the Johnston school district on July 1. The job pays $225,000 a year plus comprehensive benefits,” a district spokeswoman said.

On Monday, the Johnston Board of Education voted to offer the job to Lunn, according to a news release posted on the district’s website. The board will approve his hiring at a special meeting on March 20.

“The board is excited to extend the offer to Dr. Lunn,” board president Greg Dockum said in the release. “We are looking forward to him accepting our offer to become the next leader of the Johnston Community School District.”

With roughly 8,800 students, the cash-strapped Stillwater school district is the third largest school system that draws students from Washington County. Under Lunn’s watch, the district enacted the "Bridge to Excellence Project" strategic plan, opened a digital fabrication lab, and implemented a new curriculum process focused on developing “essential learning outcomes and utilized instructional coaches to support teachers across all grade levels,” officials said.

He also steered the district into a research partnership with UCLA to “develop a framework for a comprehensive system of learning supports,” officials said.

Lunn is in the final year of a three-year contract in Stillwater, which paid him $160,000 his first year, $164,000 the second and $168,100 the third. 

“This is a great school district, it always has been. It will continue to be a very good school district," Lunn said.

Dr. Corey Lunn

Dr. Corey Lunn