DES MOINES — Recently released emails offer the first real glimpse into how former Superintendent Nancy Sebring ran Iowa‘s largest school district behind the scenes, showing a controlling, vindictive leader who protected those closest to her.
But they also show a conflicted, unhappy woman who often cried behind closed doors and planned to divorce her husband, who has lived in Colorado during her six-year tenure in Des Moines.
Additionally, the emails detail an extramarital affair with an unnamed married man and their sexual exploits, something that cost Sebring superintendent jobs in Des Moines and Omaha. She was hired there in April and expected to start July 1.
Des Moines school board members accepted her voluntary resignation May 10 after a closed-door meeting.
At the time, they said Sebring needed more time to prepare for her move and daughter’s wedding. They also applauded her work in Des Moines.
But emails first released Saturday exposed the coverup, prompting Sebring’s voluntary resignation in Omaha.
Iowa Watchdog obtained copies of Sebring’s work emails in Des Moines from February through May.
In addition, they show she actively sought out new jobs, ran interference at Des Moines Public Charter School that her twin sister, Nina Rasmusson, ran, and looked to punish Scott Mikesh, executive director of human resources, when he put a family friend on paid administrative leave. He did so after questions surfaced during an internal audit that she falsified time cards and money went missing under her watch.
Sebring tried to avoid the release of the emails at least once when she called the Omaha World Herald and asked the reporter there to narrow his request for information, so it would exclude personal emails, according to news reports and district emails.
Iowa Watchdog is posting a portion of the emails — those related to the sex scandal — but will also release more in the coming days to allow readers full access. The emails are unedited.
WARNING: These emails contain language that some might find offensive and shocking. Adult content.