John Cool retires

John Cool Retires


Iowa Education for Deaf & Blind (IAEDB) long-term administrator John Cool will retire August 31 after serving Iowa School for the Deaf and the Deaf community for more than 31 years.

“John dedicated his career to ensuring Iowa’s deaf and hard-of-hearing children receive the best education possible,” said Steve Gettel, superintendent of Iowa School for the Deaf and Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Together, the schools comprise Iowa Education for Deaf and Blind. “Hundreds of Iowa students have been positively impacted by his caring leadership to improve opportunities and best outcomes for students.”

Prior to employment at ISD, Cool attended and completed the interpreter training program at Iowa Western Community College. It was here he met Carolyn (Stokes), whom he married. The couple had four children. His first job was with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services in Des Moines, where he was employed as a sign language interpreter working with deaf clients throughout the state in the area of employment. After several years, he became a disability determination specialist, adjudicating applications for social security disability, at the same agency.

In 1990, Cool’s former supervisor approached him about the possibility of working at Iowa School for the Deaf. “When I was hired by ISD to be the director of student life, my former boss, Jim Hanson, who devoted his entire work career to advancing services for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, told me, ‘John, you will never have a higher calling,’” Cool said. “He was so right about that. I couldn’t have asked for a better job. I have thoroughly loved working for the schools and will always treasure the relationships formed during my tenure here.”

Cool’s role as director of student life involved managing the dorm, transportation, health center and food services departments. Cool was instrumental in growing summer camps and other extended learning opportunities for deaf students across the state. He also developed and managed the school’s Deaf Resources Center,  providing interpreter training and support and sign language training for professionals and parents.

In 2012, Cool was appointed by the Board of Regents to serve as assistant administrator for both Iowa School for the Deaf and Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  In this role, Cool provided oversight of the ISD campus as well as facilities and grounds at the Iowa Braille School in Vinton.

With the closing of the Iowa Braille School, Cool worked to ensure the program needs for IESBVI would be accommodated on the ISD campus.

During his tenure, Cool served on the Iowa Early Hearing Detection and Intervention advisory committee and on the executive team for statewide services for deaf and hard of hearing.  He was also a member of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) and served on many CEASD accreditation review teams. He led many initiatives at ISD, including school accreditation and development of the emergency operations plan.