Ottumwa Leadership Academy

OLA Graduation 2014

The Ottumwa Leadership Academy is a 10-month program that strives to educate, empower, encourage, and engage future leaders to create positive change in our community, government and businesses.


“I chose to participate in OLA not only to become a better leader for myself personally, but also in the community, and to learn the things I can do to make Ottumwa a better place to live. I want to help make Ottumwa grow into something my children want to stay in, not move away from.” Brad Barnes, Audit Manager, Anderson, Larkin & Co. Our curriculum provides a broad review of the various areas that community leaders face every day such as quality of life, government, public relations, human and community services, education, and business, industry and agriculture. Leadership development is also an integral part of the curriculum allowing the participants to assess their current leadership path and enhance their skills and leadership style. Please click to learn about the Academy Curriculum and Graduation Requirements.

The Academy Leadership Team

Rubel-Tom-150x150The Dean for the 2015-2016 class is Tom Rubel. Rubel was born in the small town of Exira in southwestern Iowa. He spent many of his early years on the farm, and like many of his generation he credits this experience with shaping both his strong work ethic and love of rural Iowa. After high school Tom attended North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) and then transferred to Yankton College in Yankton, South Dakota. Tom started his career in education in 1970 teaching history and coaching. He went back to school at Northwest Missouri State University and earned his Master’s degree in Education and Specialist’s degree in Education. In his 43 years in education, Tom has served many roles. He has been a teacher, coach, athletic director, high school principal, junior high principal, middle school principal, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, school superintendent, and Executive Dean of Regional Economic Advancement at Indian Hills Community College.  He most recently took on the role of Interim Superintendent for Ottumwa Community School District. Tom’s career is marked by a strong history of leading collaborative projects and community involvement. When asked what has made his career successful thus far, Tom replied, “A leader has to know that they can’t do everything alone. You have to rely on other people. I’ve been lucky in my career to be a part of some excellent teams. My goal was, and continues to be, to foster a collaborative effort among people working toward a common goal.” Members of the  Ottumwa Leadership Academy Advisory Board include: Martin Cody, Tom Lazio, Brad Little, Natalie Bolin, Jane Martin and Tom Rubel. Ottumwa Leadership Academy is a 10-month, tuition-based academy that provides participants with LeadOttumwaLogoOutl-Dec2015a detailed over-view of Ottumwa and Wapello County with targeted leadership development strategies and skill development. With the mission to develop effective leaders for the betterment of our community, the organization strives to educate, equip, encourage and engage its participants in civic and community service and leadership. The Ottumwa Leadership Academy building is located at 113 E. Main Street (previously known as the Bookin Building). In keeping with the Legacy Foundation’s strategic focus of revitalization, this older, downtown building was purchased and renovated to house the Academy. In order to be considered for acceptance into next year’s class, please fill out the O.L.A. Application 2016 and return it to the OLA office by July 31, 2016. Please call Hollie Tometich, Executive Director at (641) 684-6221 or visit the Ottumwa Leadership Academy website at  if you have further questions, or are interested in scholarship or sponsorship opportunities. Click here for a printable version of the Ottumwa Leadership Academy brochure.