“Ice Ice Tuesday” and “Let It Snow” (not the one you’re thinking of) are among the hits for southwest Iowa’s most recent singing sensation: Missouri Valley Community School District Superintendent Brent Hoesing.
A winter marked by snow and ice has led to the cancellation of many school days thus far, along with a handful of late starts. On six such days this school year, Hoesing has delivered the message through song videos on Facebook. His discography includes “Ice Ice Tuesday” to the tune of “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice, “Let It Snow” to the tune of “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen,” along with announcements to the tunes of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman from the movie “Toy Story,” Chucky Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and “Sunshine in My Pocket” from the movie “Trolls.”
The posts have proved popular, with the Feb. 19 and Feb. 23 videos each garnering at least 7,000 shares and 500,000 views on Facebook.
“It’s one of the hardest things superintendents have to do, or whoever has to make that call, to have a late start or a snow day,” Hoesing said in an interview with The Nonpareil broadcast on Facebook Live available on this page or at bit.ly/2CNZlJy. “It affects so many different people. We want to look out for the safety of our kids and our students and parents who are driving. But we also understand we have parents who may not be able to work if we have a snow day or a late start.
“We have to really balance those. It’s always a very tough decision. I usually don’t sleep at all those nights.”
His wife had heard about superintendents elsewhere in the country doing fun things with announcements and suggested he try. The first song was exclusively for the call to parents notifying them of the school cancellation, but videos by parents receiving the call gained traction online.
“We can’t control the weather. Maybe we can put a different spin on it and make it positive,” he said. “I decided I’d do one, and only one.”
He didn’t do only one. Hoesing has done a song for every weather event since except for one — which ultimately landed him in trouble with his wife.
The Hoesings have 2- and 4-year-old daughters, which means a lot of Disney tunes. The “Frozen” soundtrack currently resides in their vehicle’s CD player.
“When you start listening to it long enough, you eventually start making up your own words because it’s more interesting than what is being played,” Brent Hoesing said. “My daughter and I would start making our own words.”
After a while, Hoesing wanted to expand genres. The Missouri Valley school board suggested rap and thus was born “Ice Ice Tuesday,” the most popular video to date with more than 777,000 views.
Hoesing grew up in the town of Laurel in northeast Nebraska, the son of a busy pair of educators. With his parents busy, he had to stay busy as well, participating in a variety of band and choir events, along with numerous sports.
He attended Wayne State College in Nebraska, earning his undergraduate, master’s and specialist degrees. He’s currently working on a doctorate from the University of South Dakota.
After a teaching stint in Shelton, Nebraska, he joined the Missouri Valley staff in the fall of 2009 as a marketing and business teacher at the middle and high schools. He spent five years as middle school principal, serving some of that time as high school activities director as well, and took over as superintendent in July 2017.
He said despite that drama and choir background in high school, the weather videos are a step outside his comfort zone.
“Making these videos was definitely something that was outside my comfort zone because of the unknown of how people will perceive the message,” he said after the Facebook Live interview, noting he still gets nervous before hitting “publish.”
“Because I don’t want to put Missouri Valley in a position to be ridiculed, and thankfully the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “If we ask our students to step outside their comfort zones, take risks and try new things, then we need to set the example ourselves as educators.”
With Hoesing achieving viral fame, there’s a groundswell in Missouri Valley to get him on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. The Missouri Valley superintendent said his feelings won’t be hurt if that doesn’t happen.
“I’m plenty busy. So if I don’t get that call, that’s okay,” he said.
Hoesing said the reason he does the videos “is not for me.”
“It’s fantastic to get the support of people out there watching them. The reason I do it is just to make people smile. Get the kids excited about coming to school,” he said. “My favorite comments are when people go online and say ‘Missouri Valley schools must be awesome.’”
That recognition is “why I keep doing them.”
“Because it is a great place. That’s the kind of recognition that I enjoy from these videos,” he said. “I appreciate the individual recognition, but that’s not the big picture.”
Will Hoesing have a chance to sing about another cancellation? He hopes not. The next precipitation in the area is some expected rain on Sunday and possible snow on Monday, but the forecast doesn’t look poor enough to warrant a cancellation or late start.
But the public can view Hoesing in action on the Missouri Valley Community Schools Facebook page today, with a video for the district’s Elementary Character Assembly focused on kindness.