Jim Verlengia

Break-Out Speaker

Jim Verlengia

With more than 50 years of combined leadership experience, Jim and Laura have supported and mentored hundreds of leaders at all levels within educational organizations.  Their leadership journey has been greatly influenced by the belief that a high performance workplace culture

  • plays a critical role in reaching and exceeding business goals,
  • happens by design through effective leadership, and
  • reflects significant clarity and alignment of vision, mission, values, goals, actions, and results

 Jim and Laura have a long-held passion to serve as a catalyst for young professionals to grow and thrive as leaders.  They are driven by a desire to inspire a passion to lead in others.

 Jim is the Director of Leadership Services at Heartland Area Education Agency in Johnston, Iowa. He is responsible for assisting boards of education, superintendents and administrative teams in developing their leadership skills. At Heartland Jim is responsible for supporting the agencies culture and leadership development. He has also recently served as superintendent of Colo-NESCO  Schools and is currently assisting Colfax-Mingo schools as interim superintendent. Prior to coming to Heartland Jim served as superintendent of Lewis Central Schools in Council Bluffs, IA.

 Jim has served Drake as Chairman of the Presidents’ National Parent’s Advisory Board, Chairperson of the School of Education National Advisory Board, and as an adjunct professor. Jim was also awarded the Drake School of Education Outstanding Alumni Award.  Recognized as a leader, Jim was appointed to Leadership Iowa and was the recipient of the Iowa Middle Level Educator of the year award and the Governor’s life saving award.

 Jim received his BA from the University of Northern Colorado, his MA from Adams State College and his Educational Specialist and Doctorate Degrees from Drake University.

 Laura is President/Owner of Gillon Consulting, with a mission to serve as a catalyst for young professionals to grow and thrive in their role as a leader.  During her tenure as an educator, Laura served in multiple leadership roles at Heartland Area Education Agency in Johnston, Iowa.  In her roles as Chief Operations Officer and Chief of Staff, Laura assisted with overall general management and leadership of the Agency comprised of over 600 employees.  Most recently, as Executive Director of Human Resources,  she provided strategic leadership for the Agency, focusing on an employee-oriented, high performance culture.  Through Laura’s leadership, the Agency embarked on a multi-year culture building experience that continues today.  This work was showcased in 2015 at an international conference focused on innovative approaches to assessing and shaping workplace culture. 

 Laura received her B.S. and M.A. degrees from the University of Iowa with extensive coursework in Adult Learning, Performance, and Development at Drake University.

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