Noreen Bush, the Cedar Rapids school superintendent, passed away from cancer two years after being diagnosed. Bush died Sunday at the age of 57.
People described Bush as having a kind, servant’s heart. They also cited several conversations with friends and peers. A significant friend held a unique trait of understanding leadership and servant roles at the same time. Because of this, people admired her balance and uniqueness.
Dr. Brad Buck has a long-term memory of meeting Noreen Bush over 35 years ago when he was a teenager attending Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids. When Dr. Buck was a senior, Bush was a sophomore. He is currently the superintendent of Waukee Schools, as well as the former superintendent of Cedar Rapids schools.
Noreen Bush inspired Buck to believe in the future. He says she was incredibly positive and always optimistic. Buck stayed close with Bush even after breaking off from her brother, Jeb. Before working as a school administrator in Cedar Rapids, Bush worked as a school principal in Bush worked in College Community Schools for 13 years.
Schipper, the Elementary Programs Director for College Community School District, stated that everyone would miss her dearly but that her legacy would live on.
Schipper says she was very popular outside of school thanks to her sense of humor and loud infectious laugh. She says she formed a close friendship with Bush that didn’t stop at school.
“Schipper states that she was both professionally and personally admirable. Her faith was very important to her, and she actively led that way,” stated the report.
Noreen’s passion for serving others was instrumental in inspiring others like Megan Elsinger, the current principal of Lincoln Elementary in Dubuque. As a school administrator, Elsinger said Noreen’s unconditional love for her work motivated her to continue serving students.
Vickie Murillo is the current head of schools in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She described her time working with Noreen as an important part of her education, adding that Noreen’s leadership style inspired her to pursue a servant leadership role. Noreen was truly an inspirational leader both in the state of Iowa and nationwide.
Despite health issues that prevented her from serving as Cedar Rapids’ Superintendent, she still overcame numerous obstacles.
Noreen Buck views Cedar Rapids in particular through her relationship with COVID and the tornado via “I think of it as Noreen leading through it,” she said.
Mount Vernon School Superintendent Greg Batenhorst considered hope to be the driving force behind all of her achievements. This included the cyber attack that she faced, as well as a massive DREDO and COVID challenge.