Grant Wood AEA logo

Purpose and Organization


Chief Administrator

Joe Crozier

Associate Administrator

Maria Cashman

Programs/Services Administrators

Kris Donnelly

Lisa Wilson

Public Relations Coordinator

Renee Nelson

Grant Wood AEA Board of Directors

GWAEA Board Book

GWAEA Board Meetings

Profile of Services

Board Policy Manual

History/Agency Purpose

An Introduction to Grant Wood AEA

Mission, Vision, Beliefs, Goals, and Strategic Priorities
2011-2012 Key Focus Areas

Educate All Children - AEAs' Goal Since The Beginning

Grant Wood AEA Acronyms


Grant Wood AEA is accredited by the Iowa Department of Education (DE). All of Iowa's Area Education Agencies are required to meet a series of performance standards. Every five years their performance is measured against these standards by the DE.


Grant Wood Area Education Agency 10 Accreditation Report

Maps - Grant Wood AEA


2016-2017 School Districts and Counties served by GWAEA

Sixth St. Facility - Cedar Rapids

33rd Avenue Facility - Cedar Rapids

Coralville Facility - Coralville

Map of Iowa's Area Education Agencies

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Reports

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report, 2013-2014

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report, 2012

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report, 2011

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report (AEA-APR) 2009

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report (AEA-APR) 2005-2006

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report, 2006

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report, 2005

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report, 2004

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report, 2003

Grant Wood AEA Annual Progress Report, 2002


Grant Wood AEA Annual Report 2006

Grant Wood AEA Continuous Improvement Plan, April 1, 2013

Equal Employment Opportunity/
Affirmative Action Plan, 2014-2016

LOFT Initiative Information

Joint County School Systems

Iowa's three-tiered system of education dates to 1858 when each of Iowa's 99 counties had a County Superintendent of Education placed between local school districts and what was then called the State Department of Public Instruction. The County Superintendent's job was to oversee all school districts within the county, which at that time numbered nearly 5,000.Chief responsibilities included the supervision and evaluation of teachers; the keeping of school attendance, teacher certification and retirement records; organization of school contests (predominantly spelling bees) and the circulation of supplemental materials for school libraries.


During the next 70 years, the number of districts steadily declined. In 1957, the Iowa Legislature allowed counties to join in employing one superintendent to handle the smaller numbers of districts.

In 1965, the Legislature approved the merger of two or more counties into Joint County School Systems. Four Joint County Systems were established in the state. That same year, the Legislature created the boundaries for the 15 merged area schools or community colleges, creating a precedent for service areas within them.


As the number of districts declined and the responsibilities of public education increased (notably the state mandates to provide educational programs for children with disabilities), the role of the County Superintendent expanded to the organization of special education and curriculum support. For example, it soon became clear that the County Superintendent could employ school psychologists and speech clinicians to serve several school districts.Each school individually would not have been able to afford such services.


During the next 10 years, however, the County Superintendent offices differed dramatically in the breadth and depth of services provided.While some school districts received support in special education and circulating film libraries, others received little or nothing. The Legislature was plagued with complaints about inequitiable services from district to district.


At the same time, Public Law 94:142, mandating a free public education for all children with disabilities, was passed. This federal law and the funding that accompanied it provided an additional impetus for consistent, equitable special education services across the state, delivered in the most efficient manner.

How Did The Agency’s Conference Rooms Get Their Names?

House File 1163 (Establishing the AEA's)

In the spring of 1974, the Iowa Legislature passed House File 1163 establishing Iowa's 15 area education agencies with the same service areas as the merged area schools (community colleges). The AEA's as they came to be called, began operating July 1, 1975.

With the establishment of the area education agency system, Iowa became a national leader in providing regional, intermediate educational services.


The Iowa system continues to be among the most respected in the country. Though 35 other states have some kind of educational service agency, referred to as BOCES, ECSU's, CESA's, IU's, IMU's, ESA's, etc., the scope of those agencies varies from state to state. Some have regulatory power as well as service responsibilities. Others provide only special education services, or only a centralized media center. Still others are cooperative ventures of two or more school districts pooling their resources, or have become market-driven and entrepreneurial, hiring staff and providing services based on contractual agreements with individual districts or district partnerships.


Iowa's school districts have continually emphasized their satisfaction with the AEA system, citing the consistency and comprehensiveness of special education services, the leadership in staff development and curriculum integration, the support in media and technology, and the close working relationships among AEA staff, superintendents, principals, teachers, guidance counselors, and media specialists. As one teacher expressed it in a recent AEA Media Services evaluation, "they make me feel like I'm the only one they're serving!"

Learn more about Iowa's Area Education Agencies.


Iowa's area education agency budgets are made up of a combination of direct state aid, local property taxes and various grants. The mechanism which brings state funds to the agencies is unique, however, because the AEA's have no taxing authority.


Instead, AEA's rely on the local school district to generate dollars for their operations and also serve as a conduit for state funds. AEA funding appears in each local school district's budget, but it merely "flows through" the school budgets. In reality, it is withheld by the state comptroller and paid directly to the AEA.


This unique system sometimes causes confusion and misunderstanding, particularly to educators new to Iowa and AEA funding. The funds which appear in the local district budget are not part of the school's budget; they are earmarked for the AEA. Local districts do not control these funds.


The basic property tax and state aid flow-through is simply a set dollar amount multiplied by the number of students in each local school district. Each of the AEA's three divisions has its own per-pupil rate, which varies slightly among AEA's. The rate is adjusted annually by the allowable growth percentage to reflect such factors as state tax collections and inflation.


The enrollment figure used to determine Special Education funding is called weighted enrollment. Under this complex formula, higher levels of disability equate to a higher per-pupil amount. Special Education receives funding from direct state aid and property taxes.

Media and Educational Services, completely funded by property taxes, use a less complex enrollment figure made up of each school district's October student headcount, plus resident pupils attending approved nonpublic schools.


Federal and state grants, which account for about 40 percent of AEA revenue, support a variety of programs, most of which are in Special Education.


Several AEA's operate extensive special education instructional programs for which they charge tuition. Others coordinate cooperative purchasing programs. In general, these types of programs are self-supporting.

A Quick Reference on How AEAs Are Funded
2016 Audited Financial Statements


While most area education agency services result from state or federal mandates and requests from local school districts, budget allocations and delivery methods are the responsibility of each AEA's board of directors.The board annually approves the budget and program plans before submission to the Iowa Department of Education.


Boards establish educational policy and administrative regulations which support and supplement requirements of the Department of Education.They are also authorized to enter into contracts or agreements with other agencies for programs, services or facilities.
Each board member represents a Director District, a geographic portion of the area which may contain one or several school districts. The number of director districts in each AEA varies from five to nine. These districts may be comprised of one larger district, several smaller school districts or a combination.


An important concept in area education agency governance isthat directors are elected by and represent local district school boards of education. This system maintains the Iowa philosophy of local control through a structure which closely parallels that of local schools. The system keeps governance in the hands of the citizenry and closest to those who are governed. Local school districts serve their communities; AEA's serve local school districts. It's logical that AEA governance comes from publicly-elected local district board members.


School boards cast a vote for director of the area education agency board. Each district located entirely or partially inside a director district is allowed a percentage of votes equal to the percentage of the school district's population in the Director District. For example, if a school district has 40 percent of the population, it would receive 40 percent of the votes.


AEA board members must reside in the district they represent, may be members of local school boards, but cannot be school employees. Directors serve without pay for staggered four-year terms. Each board elects its own president and vice-president, and appoints a treasurer and secretary.The AEA administrator serves as the board's chief executive officer.



GW logoAEA logo


Grant Wood Area Education Agency extends equal opportunities in its employment practices, educational programs and services, and does not discriminate on the basis of color, gender, race, national origin, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, veteran status or as otherwise prohibited by law. If you believe you or your child has been discriminated against or treated unjustly, please contact the Agency’s Equity Coordinator, Maria Cashman, at 319-399-6847 or 800-332-8488 or TDD 319-399-6766, Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

ADDRESS: 4401 Sixth Street SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
TELEPHONE: 319-399-6700 | 800-332-8488
Fax: 319-399-6457
SOCIAL SITES: rss feed logo