School Board will reopen superintendent search in May

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Gloria Reyes addresses the media via Zoom. Screen capture courtesy Madison365.

Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education President Gloria Reyes announced Tuesday that the board will reopen the Madison schools superintendent search next month. The decision was made in a closed board meeting Monday night.

“Our intent is to see if there are any candidates we feel will be a good fit for us,” Reyes said in an online media briefing.

The search will reopen after the board offered the job to Dr. Matthew Gutierrez, who accepted and then changed his mind. The board plans to continue the recruitment process they originally began with the same consulting agency that created a leadership profile, which included public input.

“We want someone who is able to lead our school district through critical times and that is a part of our leadership profile,” Reyes said. 

The new process will again focus on the input of the Madison community. “We will need to be creative in how to provide public engagement opportunities considering our current social distancing guidelines,” Reyes said.

African American leaders in Madison were critical of the original process, but going forward Reyes says the board is considering who was “not at the table” the first time around.

Each decision moving forward will come in phrases; if the board is pleased with any candidates there will be interviews in June. If the board is unsatisfied with the candidates who applied or interviewed they will reconvene in June.

The “ideal” situation is to have a permanent superintendent by the fall semester, but an interim superintendent is still being considered, Reyes said.

Reyes praised the support of the current interim superintendent Jane Belmore. Belmore is willing to support the MMSD, but a decision has not been made concerning her contact with the district.

Dr. Matthew Guiterrez rescinded his acceptance of the superintendent position in late March because of COVID-19. Guiterrez was set to begin on June 1st. The decision came as a surprise and disappointment, Reyes said. 

“The board made the best decision to hire Dr.Gutierrez with a fair and transparent process of community involvement,” Reyes said. “He would have been a great leader for our community,”

Guiterrez was unanimously selected for the superintendent over two other finalists: Eric Thomas, former chief turnaround officer for the Georgia State Board of Education, and Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, a former superintendent of Albany, New York, schools.

The board is opening up the search locally and nationally to find the best leader for MMSD, Reyes said. “We are confident. We are being thoughtful, purposeful, and methodical to find that right person to move MMSD forward,” Reyes said.

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