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Iowa State Board of Education Members

The Iowa State Board of Education consists of ten members: nine voting members who are appointed by the governor for six-year terms and subject to Senate confirmation; and one nonvoting student member, also appointed by the governor.

Brooke Axiotis, Vice President

Brooke Axiotis of Des Moines joined the State Board in 2014. She is an attorney at Iowa Workforce Development. She is a member of the Iowa Bar. Her community activities involve the Iowa PBS Board of Directors, the immediate past Chair of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Board of Directors, and Links, Inc. She earned her law degree from Drake University.


Cindy Dietz

Cindy Dietz of Cedar Rapids is the director of state government relations at RTX where she advocates for policies on business operations, workforce and the aerospace industry. Previously, Cindy led many communications functions at Collins Aerospace, an RTX business. She has been a part of Iowa’s STEM initiative, serving on the STEM Advisory Council and as its Interim Executive Director in 2018. Cindy holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University and is on the board of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry and several local nonprofit organizations.

Cassandra Halls

Cassandra Halls of Carlisle is the President of 2 THE TOP, a business consulting organization that focuses on strategy development, training facilitation, research and analysis for corporations, nonprofits, colleges, universities and governmental agencies. Cassandra holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from William Penn University along with an associate degree from North Iowa Area Community College. She serves on the Greater Carlisle Community Foundation and the Carlisle Friends of the Park and is a member of the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce.

Brian J. Kane

Brian J. Kane of Dubuque was appointed to the State Board in 2020. He is the President, Shareholder and Founder of Kane, Norby & Reddick, P.C. Brian has practiced law for 37 years and is a graduate of Loras College and the University of Iowa College of Law. He is also a CPA. Brian’s legal work is primarily in corporate and business, taxation, real estate and estate and trust planning. Brian has served on many local Catholic school boards of education and has participated as a board member, chair and president of many local charities.

William "Mike" May

William "Mike" May of Spirit Lake was appointed to the State Board in May 2012. He is a retired teacher and owner of Triggs Bay Resort in Arnolds Park. He served as a state representative from 2005-2010 where he was ranking member of the House Education Committee. He received a bachelor's degree from Simpson College and a master's degree from Mankato State College.

Mary Meisterling

Mary Meisterling of Cedar Rapids was appointed to the State Board in March, 2023. She retired from Alliant Energy in early 2022 as a manager supporting business/industry attraction and expansion in the State of Iowa. Mary is a graduate of Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, with a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and business administration. She served on the Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Directors from 2002 to 2019, Grant Wood Area Education Agency Board from 2005 to 2018 and STEM Advisory Council from 2014 to 2022.

Nathan Peterson

Nathan Peterson of Iowa City joined the State Board in 2022. Nathan is an attorney focusing primarily on criminal law and is a member of the Iowa Bar. He earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Iowa. Nathan is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and is an active member of the American Legion.

John Robbins, President

John Robbins of Iowa Falls joined the State Board in 2020. He retired in 2019 as superintendent of schools in Iowa Falls and Alden after a tenure of 20 years. He was previously a high school principal in Iowa Falls, a secondary principal at CAL (Latimer), and teacher/athletic coach at CAL. Robbins has been actively engaged in school improvement for decades including leading efforts to embed improvement initiatives in his own school districts. Robbins holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Northern Iowa and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

Sophia Van Houten, Student Member

Sophia Van Houten of Ida Grove was appointed to serve the State Board of Education as the student member in 2023. Sophia attends OABCIG High School, where she participates in art club, choir, band, musicals, speech and National Honor Society. Sophia also serves as color-guard co-captain, OABCIG Future Business Leaders of America chapter vice president and secretary of quiz bowl. Within the community, Sophia is an active member of the United Methodist Church of Odebolt, part of the Greater Iowa Swim League and USA Swim Club and volunteers for Assisted Living of Holstein by playing the piano.