Forkenbrock Series on Public Policy


Education Policy in Iowa - Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America Fall 2016 Series

N120 College of Public Health Building (CPHB)
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 6:30 PM


  • Patti Ruff

    Patti Ruff

    State Representative House District 56, House Education Committee

    State Representative Patti Ruff of McGregor is running for re-election to the Iowa House of Representatives in District 56, which includes Allamakee and Clayton counties.


    Ruff is currently serving her second term in the Iowa House and is the Ranking Member of the House Education Committee. She also serves on Agriculture, Natural Resources, Ways & Means, and the Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Subcommittee.


    Ruff started her twentieth season at the grain elevator in McGregor, run by Bunge North America. She served on the MFL Mar-Mac School Board and as president for four years. As a school board member, she saw over the development of child care centers adjacent to the school and a premier early childcare program put in place.


    Patti and her husband Dan live in rural McGregor and have 3 sons: Liam, Bryar, and Tucker.

  • LaTasha DeLoach, LMSW

    LaTasha DeLoach, LMSW

    Johnson County Social Services

    LaTasha DeLoach has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from the University of Iowa School Of Social Work. She is currently employed with Johnson County in the Social Services Department where she holds the title as a Community Projects Specialist. In her current position she is the Johnson County Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Coordinator and the Community Partnerships for Protecting Children Coordinator. She is a member of the Johnson County Georgetown Team which is specifically charged to reduce disproportionality in local youth serving systems.


    DeLoach is a member of the National Association of Black Social Workers and the National Association of Social Workers, member of the State Disproportionate Minority Contact Subcommittee, Governor’s Task for Detention Alternative – Implementation Committee, Girl Circle Assoc. facilitator, Co-Founder of G! World which serves self-defined minority girls in most secondary school in the Iowa City Area. She has created the programs My Beaut I Ful Self , Our Beaut I Ful Selves –Mother Daughter Luncheon, Kites for Kids and other amazing programs in the Johnson County area. She has been the Iowa City Area Juneteenth Coordinator for the last 5 years. DeLoach is the first African American woman to serve on the Iowa City Community School Board in 30 years.  She serves as the Council for Young Men and Boys facilitator, a member of the statewide Iowa Girls Justice Initiative, Coalition for Racial Justice member, Member of Black Voices Project, cultural diversity consultant and coach/mentor and community volunteer, event coordinator including conferences, seminars and workshops and community events. 

  • Mitch Gross

    Mitch Gross

    Iowa City Education Association

    Mitch Gross holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from Ripon College and a MA in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Iowa. This is his fourteenth year teaching at Iowa City West High School.  His courses include Advanced Placement United States History and American Government. Since 2014, he has served as co-President of the Iowa City Education Association.


    Prior to becoming a teacher, Gross served in a variety of political and governmental capacities, including chief advisor to former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge and Campaign Manager for former Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver. Gross was elected to the Coralville City Council in 2007 and currently serves as Coralville’s Mayor Pro Tem.

  • Jennifer Gertson

    Jennifer Gertson

    Riverdale Heights Elementary School, Pleasant Valley Community School District

    I graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in Elementary Education (was a Resident Assistant at Slater and Administrative Assistant of U of I Sports Camps while on campus).  Since graduating I have obtained a MA in Educational Administration.  I have taught:  K-5 Special Education, K-5 Music, 7th Grade Social Studies, Grades 4 – 6, served as a building Instructional Coach for 6 years and am currently in my 5th year as Principal at Riverdale Heights Elementary School in the Pleasant Valley School District.  I have coached varsity track and basketball in my career as well. 


    My  building received the Breaking Barriers Award in 2014 and 2015 for student achievement scores our Latino students obtained on Iowa Assessments.  We use a building wide MTSS (Multi Tiered System of Support) system to try to support the learning of every child.

  • Deborah Reed

    Deborah Reed

    Iowa Reading Research Center

    Deborah K. Reed earned her Ph.D. in special education at the University of Texas at Austin. She spent the first 10 years of her career as a English language arts and reading teacher and preK-12 reading specialist. Since 2003, she has been active in the field as a researcher and technical assistance provider. Most recently, Dr. Reed has served as an assistant professor at Florida State University and the Florida Center for Reading Research. She has developed numerous instructional materials and professional development programs on evidence-based literacy practices, particularly for middle and high school students.


    Dr. Reed was awarded the Council for Learning Disabilities’ 2010 Outstanding Researcher of the Year award, served as the chair of that organization’s Research Committee from 2012-2015, and is now the Vice President. She has over 30 peer reviewed journal articles and serves on the editorial boards of Learning Disability Quarterly, Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, and the Elementary School Journal. Her current research interests include appropriate uses of reading data in instructional decision making, addressing the literacy demands of science classes, and providing reading instruction in correctional settings.