UI law graduate fills Iowa City Community School District school board position

The University of Iowa alumni and former Cedar Rapids attorney Dromi Estey is the ICCSD school board’s newest member, with colleagues praising her skills and experiences as assets to the board.




Samantha Murray, News Reporter

Colleagues of the recently elected Iowa City Community School District board member Dromi Etsey describe her as someone who is always listening, learning, and thoughtful — traits that aim to help Etsey reach her goal of bringing equity to children in the district.

Etsey, who serves as the University of Iowa College of Law Director of Global Community Engagement and on the campus board of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, was elected to become the Iowa City school board’s newest member on Sept. 15.

Originally from Ghana and an Iowa resident of nearly 10 years, Etsey said that as a teenage she attended Wesley Girls High School, which is considered to be one of the best boarding schools in Ghana. She has attended colleges in both Ghana and the U.S., graduating from the UI College of Law in 2014.

Before coming back to the UI, Etsey worked in private practice out of Cedar Rapids as an attorney. She said a former colleague recommended she apply for the position, and Etsey decided to go for it.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to help the community, and I truly believe that Iowa City is a very diverse place, but I don’t know how the needs of the diverse communities are being met,” Etsey said. “I wanted to be a part of the school board to help address those needs and represent diversity not in terms of just skin color but in terms of thought and perspective.”

Etsey said the application for the Iowa City school board was reasonable and allowed her to bring in her own past accomplishments and perspective to face potential problems in the district and provide solutions.

The board invited all the candidates to come to a meeting Sept. 15, giving them an opportunity to speak for three minutes. After everyone spoke, Etsey said the board announced its decision to make her the newest member of the board.

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Etsey said she was excited about her acceptance to the position and the chance to help provide equity to students in Iowa City.

“All kids are important, and all kids need to be prioritized,” Etsey said. “I strongly believe that, and I am very passionate about learning. I think that learning will help all the kids make progress in their life, and I think giving them an equal footing is beneficial to all kids.”

Director of the UI College of Law Master of Studies in Law program Christina Bohannan, who recommended Etsey go for the position, said she met Etsey through the UI Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee as its faculty chair.

She said Etsey is extremely thoughtful, which is an ability she believes will help Etsey grapple with the difficult issues facing the school board. Etsey’s legal expertise and human rights work will be an asset to the board as well, she said.

“I think that she will bring experience to the board so that she can really understand what students of color, and students for other countries, of which we have a number in our school district, and think about their needs as she’s making a school-board policy,” Bohannan said.

Chief of Staff and Dean of Law Administration in the UI College of Law Jill De Young said in an email to The Daily Iowan that she got to know Etsey while she was studying at the UI. Etsey is curious and wise, she said, listening and learning when she can, and will bring these qualities to make decisions on the board.

“These are important leadership skills during this time when the board has very hard work to do and critical decisions to make for our community,” De Young said in an email. “Dromi brings an international perspective to the board, which is important to our community. Dromi will work hard for every student in the ICCSD community.”