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33 apply for MMSD superintendent position

33 apply for MMSD superintendent position


The Madison Metropolitan School District received 33 applicants for its open superintendent position.

The Madison Metropolitan School District received 33 applications in its second superintendent search of the year — two more than it received the first time around.

The School Board decided to reopen the search this spring after its first choice from the initial search, the superintendent of a small Texas school district, backed out of the job amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The position was listed through consultant BWP and Associates' website beginning in late April, with applications accepted until June 1. The board received a presentation from BWP and Associates in closed session Monday night on "general applicant pool characteristics," and district spokesman Tim LeMonds provided the number of applicants in an email Tuesday morning.

Thirty-one people applied to the first search, and the board narrowed the group to three finalists, all from out of state. The board selected Matthew Gutiérrez in late January after the candidates all visited for a "Day in the District," which included school visits, interviews with various community groups and a public question and answer session.

In a March 31 letter, a few weeks after he visited during his current district's spring break week, Gutiérrez rescinded his acceptance, citing the need for continuity in the Seguin Independent School District as it recovers from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The news was made public a week later.

By mid-April, School Board president Gloria Reyes announced the plan to reopen the search, with interim superintendent Jane Belmore's contract up at the end of July. 

[Public input on former MMSD superintendent finalists shows challenge of finding universal support]

That leaves a short turnaround to get a new permanent hire in place.

Reyes said in April the board hoped to conduct interviews in June, and Belmore said in May that they hoped to have a decision by July 20.

LeMonds wrote in an email that the 33 applicants are from 17 states, including Wisconsin. He said he could not provide information on whether any of the applicants were internal.

Reyes had spoken proudly of the the transparent, public-involved process during the first search. She said earlier this spring that the board will "remain committed to community input" in the hiring process.

"Just a short couple months ago nobody would have ever foreseen where we would be today and how rapidly things changed," Reyes said in April. "Over the years I've had the opportunity to lead in this city in critical moments and leading us through crisis.

"I have learned that it is in these times we need transparency, collaboration, communication and trust and the ability to pivot when needed and pivot together."

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Scott Girard is the local k-12 education reporter at the Cap Times. A Madison native, he joined the paper in 2019 after working for six years for Unified Newspaper Group. Follow him on Twitter @sgirard9.

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