Longtime Iowa City Community School District administrator to take service overseas

After serving Iowa City students for 21 years, Gregg Shoultz will retire from the district to help lead the American International School of Abuja.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Director of Online Learning for the Iowa City Community School District, Gregg Shoultz, poses for a portrait outside of the central office on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

Grace Hamilton, News Reporter

Before Gregg Shoultz started his career in educational administration at the Iowa City Community School District, he taught in different parts of the world.

“Before coming to Iowa City, I worked at a couple of overseas schools,” Shoultz said. “My wife and I started our careers in Woodstock, Illinois. Then, we wanted to find greener pastures, so from there, we went overseas and went to Guam … And then we went to work in Switzerland after that for four years.”

After six years of overseas teaching, Shoultz spent 21 years serving Iowa City schools in various administrative positions, before retiring from the district. This past year, he took up the role of director of PK-12 Online Learning.

Shoultz is now pursuing a leadership role on the other side of the world, however, at the American International School of Abuja.

Next year, Shoultz said he will serve as the principal for junior and senior high students at the school in Nigeria.

According to its website, the American International School of Abuja prepares students residing in Nigeria to continue their education at American institutions.

Greg Hughes, head of the American International School of Abuja, wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that international schools offer a Western-styled learning approach in different parts of the world.

Hughes wrote that international schools allow the children of American and other expatriate families to get a typical Western education.

“They are joined, however, by a strong cadre of local students, giving us a wonderful melting-pot whereby students get a rigorous education in line with American Common Core Standards, while at the same time learning from their classmates about life outside of the U.S. through interpersonal interactions,” Hughes wrote.

Although more than 40 different nationalities are represented among the school’s staff and student population, most students are familiar with English.

“There are over 500 languages spoken in Nigeria. However, the official language spoken is English, and very few of our students do not speak English to some degree,” Hughes wrote. “The most common languages used by local families at home are Hausa, Yoroba, and Igbo. However, these are usually reserved for interacting within their families. For Gregg and Amy, language will not present too much of a barrier as English is so widely used.”

Shoultz will be 6,253 miles away from the place he has known for much of his life, but said he is excited to enter this new transition.

“I’m endlessly curious about different cultures, people, and places. I’ve always yearned to find out how people live and where they live, so that’s part of the driver of this transition,” Shoultz said. “… I didn’t enjoy middle management or central administration work very much, and I really enjoyed being a school principal. It turned out that I turned 56, which made me eligible to retire from the district and look for greener pastures. So that’s what I did.”

Shoultz won’t be alone, however. His wife, Amy Shoultz, will join him in Nigeria to teach middle school English Language Learners at the same school.

Amy Shoultz is a clinical professor in the College of Education at the University of Iowa and teaches an English class section at Iowa City West High School.

She said she and Gregg leave for Abuja in July.

“There’s just a lot of logistical things that we have to sort out like selling our house, figuring out our insurance, figuring out our mail — just things that you take for granted that you intuitively do every day,” she said. “Then there’s the emotional part of it. I’ve been a clinical professor at UI for a long time. It’s been my career, and I love my job. I’m going to miss a great deal of the work that I do. I love working with the students that I have in our program.”

Although their next chapter will unfold overseas, Amy Shoultz said their family has always shared a deep appreciation for travel and viewing life through a global lens.

“For some reason, both Greg and I just wanted to do something other than stay in the Midwest our whole life,” she said. “We’ve been to Costa Rica, Bali, Australia, Hong Kong, and China. But I think I’m most proud of the fact that we instilled the value of culture and the value of language in both of our daughters. They value cross-cultural exchange, and that is a big part of their identity.”

Hughes, who has worked on the continent of Africa for over 16 years, said he is excited for the Shoultzes to start their new life in Abuja.

“I can truly say that Gregg and Amy are in for the time of their lives,” Hughes wrote. “I would encourage any educators interested in a life-changing experience to look into international education as an option.”