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ELKADER, IA - APRIL 17, 2024

The Keystone AEA Board of Directors approved sharing Chief Administrator, Stan Rheingans, as Interim Chief Administrator with Central Rivers AEA from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025, pending mutual agreement of the details of a Sharing Agreement. Central Rivers AEA recently named Rheingans as Interim Chief Administrator after Joel Pedersen announced his resignation to accept the position of President of North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC).

“This is a pivotal time for Iowa’s AEAs as they respond to the challenges of HF 2612 and I’m passionate about seeing this through in partnership with our shared leadership team,” said Rheingans.  “As a former superintendent, I know the value of AEA services and appreciate the positive impact they have on children, families and educators.”

Keystone and Central Rivers AEA will share two executive leadership positions for 2024-25 in addition to the chief administrator role. Both agencies are working closely with area school districts in planning services in light of significant shifts brought about by current legislation.

Keystone Area Education Agency provides special education services for children ages birth-21, and educational and media services to 21 public school districts and 21 nonpublic schools, covering nearly 5,000-square-miles in these counties: Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek. For more information visit



An Open House is planned at Keystone AEA on February 21 from 5:00-6:30 PM.  Keystone AEA is located at 1400 2nd Street NW Elkader. Visitors can tour the media library, learn about AEA services and choose from  a variety of informational sessions about AEA services including: speech-language pathology, hearing and vision services, occupational and physical therapy, media library, professional learning and more.  

Keystone AEA’s main office has been in Elkader since the AEAs were created by the Iowa Legislature in 1974! The state legislature created AEAs in 1974 to replace county systems with 15 area education agencies to provide equity in educational services across the state. There are now nine AEAs due to voluntary mergers across the state.

Since its inception, Iowa’s AEA system has been widely regarded as one of the finest systems of intermediate services in the country providing Special Education, Media, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, and Professional Learning support to children, families and educators since day one.

Today Iowa’s AEAs provide support to over half a million students statewide. That includes approximately 31,500 K-12 grade students in Keystone AEA, which serves 21 public school districts, 21 accredited nonpublic schools, plus the birth to 3 population and early learners. Keystone AEA has 235 staff members located in eight counties.  Learn more at


Pursuant to Iowa Code Section 273.3(12), the Board of Directors of Keystone Area Education Agency presents notification of a public hearing on the proposed budget. 

AEA: Keystone Area Education Agency
Date/Time of Hearing: February 19, 2024 at 1:00 P.M.

Location: Keystone AEA, 1400 Second Street NW, Elkader Iowa with access via teleconference by calling toll-free: 855-880-1246, Meeting ID: 999 6610 0230 #, Participant ID: #

View the summary of the proposed budget which is prepared on the GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) basis. Supporting detail of revenues and expenditures is available for review at the office of the board treasurer. A copy will be furnished upon request.

Annual Notice


Keystone Area Education Agency (AEA) maintains records on each student served in order to facilitate the instruction, guidance, and educational progress of the student.  The records contain information about the student and his/her education.  These records may include, but are not limited to, the following:  identification/directory information, permission(s) of parents for evaluation and placement, support services reports, Individual Family Service Plans (IFSPs), Individual Education Programs (IEPs),  and external agency reports.  These records are located at the local field office of Keystone AEA serving the local school district.  

Authorized persons have the right to review education records of the student, have those records explained, obtain copies of the records, and write a response to materials in the records.  They also have the right to challenge the content of the records they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  The Agency’s policy on student records can be secured upon request by contacting Keystone AEA, 1400 2nd St. NW, Elkader IA 52043, or phone 1-800-632-5918. 

Agencies and organizations, as identified in FERPA regulations, may have restricted access to student records without prior written consent of the parent or student over the age of 18 years. The AEA discloses education records without prior written consent under the FERPA exception to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official may include, but is not limited to, a person employed by Keystone, its board, service providers to students (including school district administrators, instructors, and other support staff), consultants, contractors, volunteers, job shadows, and other agents of Keystone. Any other access to student records shall be only upon written consent or upon court order or legally issued subpoena. A Record of Access is maintained so that parents may learn who has viewed their student’s records.

2. Record Maintenance/Destruction.

It is Keystone AEA’s policy to destroy the following information deemed no longer needed for determining educational services for its students: 

  1. Electronic communication more than seven years old;
  2. Agency forms not related to Early ACCESS or special education more than seven years old; and
  3. Underlying information reported in IEPs/IFSPs (i.e. progress monitoring probes, staff notes and evaluation data) more than seven years old.

Be advised that this information may contain personally identifiable information regarding students.  If you would like a copy of these materials prior to destruction, please contact Keystone AEA at 1-800-632-5918.

Students and parents may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Keystone AEA to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  Correspondence should be addressed to:

Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC  20202


High school students across northeast Iowa gained hands-on experience in educational healthcare careers like Occupational and Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology, and Social Work at an event hosted by Keystone Area Education Agency (AEA) and Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC). Students practiced typing braille, explored apps to help toddlers learn to speak vowel sounds, and learned from AEA Occupational Therapists how to adapt everyday household items so children with physical challenges can learn and play just like their peers.

The “Healthcare in Education Exploratory Career Day” held at Keystone AEA in Elkader on November 28 had attendance from nearly 40 high school students from Howard-Winneshiek, MFL MarMac, New Hampton, Turkey Valley, Postville, South Winneshiek, and Starmont. 

Students transitioned through hands-on career stations allowing them to gain experience and ask questions about careers in audiology, early childhood, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, school psychology, school social work, and teaching and supporting mobility for students with visual impairments. 

High school students learn about careers in Occupational Therapy Kelcie Smith, College and Career Coach with NICC, accompanied six Starmont High School students. “Kids don’t always realize how a career can help other people,” Smith said. “Physical or sports education can lead to a career in occupational therapy. Exposing them to these options opens their eyes and they realize there are more options than what they see day-to-day.”

“I found the occupational therapy station the most interesting,” said Jax, a freshman from Starmont.  It was cool to see how people can use tools to improve lives and find solutions to help others.”

While some may think of Career Day as a “field trip” that certainly is not the case for these students. All Iowa students in Grades 8-12 grade complete an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) as part of a roadmap to post-graduation. Through connection to the ICAP students consider the steps needed to achieve their postsecondary goals, whether that is entering the workforce immediately or continuing their education. Healthcare was a commonly identified career path for all of the students attending the event. 

Another NICC College and Career Coach, Krista Skaalan, brought six students from South Winneshiek to the event. “A lot of students are interested in the healthcare field and a lot of them are primarily interested in nursing,” said Skaalan. “This helps them understand that there is much more to the healthcare field. There are a ton of people interested in sign language and now they realize they can use that skill in the healthcare field.”  

Vincent, a freshman from Starmont, shared why he attended the event, “I want to be a PE teacher when I grow up. I thought maybe this would show me other careers that I might be able to expand into. Physical therapy and speech therapy were the most interesting to me today and I was also surprised to learn there are so many careers in the “Hearing” field.”

Starmont students learn about careers in Hearing and Audiology
A similar event was held in early November at Keystone AEA’s Dubuque location. 

Keystone Area Education Agency provides special education services for children ages birth-21, and educational and media services to 21 public school districts and 21 nonpublic schools, covering nearly 5,000-square-miles in these counties: Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek. For more information visit


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