New Clinton principal returns to his hometown


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

After serving 27 years as a school administrator, Joseph Brown Sr., “retired” and returned to his hometown of Clinton. After eight weeks in retirement, “I decided I still have the need to serve the educational community,” he said. Now he is the new principal at Prince of Peace Catholic School.


Brown attended St. Irenaeus Elementary, Gateway Junior High, Clinton High School and Mount St. Clare College — all in Clinton. He earned his associate’s degree from Mount St. Clare College and a bachelor’s degree from William Penn University in Oskaloosa in social science composite with a social studies teaching license. He later earned a master’s degree in public administration with a specialty in labor relations from the University of Iowa and an administrative degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato with a K-12 principal and superintendent license.

Over the years, Brown has worked in a number of jobs such as rock & roll drummer, turret lathe operator manufacturing fire hydrants and as a high school government and economics teacher. He served as an Iowa state senator from 1979-1986. He chaired the state senate’s education committee from 1983-1985 and wrote the first open enrollment law in the nation. He also was a contract painter, worked in public sector marketing for Unisys Corp., was a high school principal for 10 years and school superintendent for 17 years.


He was a principal of Minnesota high schools in Barnum, LeSueur-Henderson and Austin; Chicago International Charter School K-12; and a superintendent in Minnesota at Grand Meadow and Fairmont.

When Brown returned to Clinton, he said his Realtor informed him of the Prince of Peace opening. After doing some research, he contacted diocesan Superintendent Lynne Devaney to learn more about the position and the hiring process.

“I am fully aware of the shortage of teachers and administrators in our country. I have fond memories of St. Mary High School during the 1960s. My mother had her funeral mass at St. Mary Church in 1990. My father was a member of Prince of Peace Parish. I felt that I could be of service to Prince of Peace as a token of appreciation for the quality education I received at St. Irenaeus, Mount St. Clare and the Clinton public schools,” Brown said.

“I am looking forward to meeting each of our dedicated faculty and support staff, students, parents and members of the parish. We are still recruiting teachers for few open teaching positions. I am working towards fully understanding the revenue and expenditure processes of a private school. I am anxiously waiting for the start of the school year.”

Brown has three adult children, JEB Brown, Tacoma, Washington; Bristen Brown Geimer, Montezuma, Iowa; and Madison Brown Rahm, Mason City, Iowa. Madison is expecting her first child, his first grandchild, next month. He also has a new puppy named Bailey.

Father Paul Appel, pastor of Prince of Peace Parish, said, “Joe comes to us with a wealth of experience and deep ties in our community. As a new pastor here, I am glad we were able to find such a well-qualified individual to be our new principal. We are committed to Catholic education here at Prince of Peace and I know Joe will be a great help in handing on the faith to the next generation.”

Brown added, “I believe that schools need to be sanctuaries of safety for all students, faculty, support staff, parents and community members; both physically safe and psychologically safe. Prince of Peace is fortunate to provide a quality education with small class sizes in a caring community with a dedicated school board and a supportive parish.”

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