Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency

About Us

Prairie Lakes AEA is one of nine Iowa Area Education Agencies that provide services to every student in every school in every Iowa county. Prairie Lakes AEA is located in north central Iowa. Our area stretches across 14 counties (Calhoun, Clay, Buena Vista, Dickinson, Emmet, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Kossuth, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster & Wright) from the Minnesota border down to the Highway 30 area; and across from Interstate 35 to Highway 71. Our 8,000 square mile area is larger than the states of Delaware (2,489), Connecticut (5,543) and Rhode Island (1,545), and is comparable to New Jersey (8,721). 

Within that region, we serve 38 public school districts and 11 accredited, nonpublic schools.

Over 32,000 students attend the schools we serve, and we have about 250 people on our team. 

We have physical office space in eight communities:

  • Algona
  • Estherville
  • Fort Dodge
  • Jefferson
  • Pocahontas
  • Spencer
  • Storm Lake
  • Webster City 

Chief Administrator is Jeff Herzberg joined Prairie Lakes AEA in July 2010. Each of the seven members of our Board of Directors is elected by local school district boards.

Our Goals

Prairie Lakes AEA aligns its goals to the goals of Iowa's Area Education Agencies, which are:

Iowa’s AEAs are committed to supporting schools in promoting healthy learning environments that address the social, emotional, behavior, and mental health well-being of students. Well-being is a sustainable state of positive mood and attitude, resilience, and satisfaction with self, relationships, and experiences. When these supports are in place, students typically have fewer disciplinary issues, can focus more on school work, and develop skills that translate to a life well-lived.

Future Ready
Iowa’s AEAs will provide an integrated statewide system of supports and services by creating and connecting authentic learning experiences for Iowa students and educators. With personalized, competency-based learning models, work-based experiences, and data-driven strategies, AEAs will ensure all students are future ready.


For Iowa’s AEAs, synergy includes delivering equitable services to all Iowa schools and ensuring that resources reduce/eliminate redundancies.

Below are the specific focus areas that Prairie Lakes AEA has adopted to achieve those goals:

  • Meaningful Interactions
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • MTSS/ESSA work
  • Specially designed instruction

Our Mission

Our mission is to ensure success for ALL learners through focused, collaborative partnerships.

Our Beliefs

  • Consistent, system-wide, open communication creates a positive organization.
  • Prairie Lakes AEA must be an innovative, research-based, data-driven agency collaborating with all partners to achieve excellence.
  • We will serve children, families, schools and communities with integrity based on their unique needs.
  • All people thrive in an atmosphere of trust, respect, excellence and recognition.
  • Through shared knowledge, skills and collaborative partnerships, we can support the needs of all learners.
  • Learning must be differentiated in order to meet the needs of agency, the district and the individual to build upon strengths and skills.
  • Flexibility and support are needed in order to balance job responsibilities, teaming, training and application of new skills.


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