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Superintendent, Madison Metropolitan School District



Madison, WI, USA
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2023

About our District

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) is the second-largest school district in Wisconsin and serves over 26,000 students in 52 schools. The district covers approximately 74 square miles including all or part of the cities of Madison and Fitchburg, the villages of Maple Bluff and Shorewood Hills, and the towns of Blooming Grove and Burke. Madison is a growing and diversifying community with a thriving network of nonprofit, civic and community-based organizations, and higher education institutions. The vision of our school district is to ensure that every school will be a thriving school that prepares every student to graduate ready for college, career and community. MMSD is proud of the work done to support and nurture our current success and we recognize that there is much work to be done, especially as we look at outcomes for students with special needs, multilingual learners, and our Black, Latinx, Asian, including Hmong students. Significant work is already underway to address disparate outcomes, to close opportunity gaps and to ensure appropriate resources are allocated to address these challenges and continue moving us closer to our vision.

About the Superintendent Role

Reporting to the seven-member school board, the Superintendent of MMSD will work diligently to bring forth the vision and mission outlined in the District's Strategic Framework. The strategic framework lifts up and articulates our commitment to anti-racism, inclusion and alliance to all children and their families and is grounded in our core values of excellence, belonging, racial equity and social justice, voice, focus and creativity. Our next Superintendent will be charged with moving forward three ambitious goals outlined in the framework:

  • Every child is on track to graduate ready for college, career and community.
  • The district and every school in it is a place where children, staff, and families thrive.
  • African American children and youth excel in school.

The pillars of the framework articulate how we will continuously move forward these goals and include five major levers for change:

  • Empower school communities
  • Invest in people
  • Streamline priorities
  • Plan for the future
  • Embrace innovation

The Superintendent will enter the district at a critical time when the foundation has been laid and key challenges have been identified; the new Superintendent will strengthen the systems, structures and framework to fully implement, monitor and sustain this work on behalf of every student in the district.

What You’ll Do (Responsibilities)

Galvanize and unite the MMSD community around the goals and vision of our Strategic Framework

  • Partner with the MMSD community to review the district’s Strategic Framework and how it has been supported and implemented over the last 5+ years. Develop a clear and coherent plan moving forward, identifying top priorities, and the systems and supports needed system-wide to allow for the full actualization of the Strategic Framework.
  • Ensure that the district's mission, vision, key priorities and the "why" are clearly articulated and well-understood by our staff, partners, and stakeholders.
  • Build on MMSD’s track record of whole student support and ensure an immediate focus on providing the resources and training needed to support social emotional learning, mental health supports and safety for students.
  • Inspire and galvanize action across the board members, administrators, teachers, parents, students and the broader education, civic, and philanthropic communities in support of the vision and strategy for student success.

Champion bold and unwavering advocacy for each of our students

  • Strengthen supports for Black, First Nations and Native American, Latinx, Asian including Hmong students, Students With Disabilities, LGBTQIA+ community, multilingual and multicultural students.
  • Advocate for and cultivate safe, engaging learning environments that fully support multilingual learners, students with diverse learning styles and needs.
  • Adopt instructional models and structures based on practices that are research based, culturally responsive and demonstrated to be effective and desired by families.
  • Prepare each and every one of our students for career and college by strengthening programming from PK-16, beginning with our earliest learners in PK4, all the way to high school graduation, and ensuring that students graduate with credits for college and/or the skills and path to the career of their choice.
  • Establish structures that ensure staff have clear guidelines and procedures when advocating for students and community.

Establish coherent plans, systems and structures to ensure clear communication, successful implementation, and desired outcomes of the Strategic Framework

  • Translate the Strategic Framework into short- and long-term priorities, strategies, and goals, adjusting as needed as the Board articulates expectations for student results.
  • Ensure that programs and services are appropriately resourced to meet the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs of the students.
  • Use research and data to drive decision making and to hold departments and teams accountable for implementation, ongoing progress, and results.
  • Assess and ensure a strategic organizational structure that is optimized to provide efficient service, strategic problem solving and a customer service mindset in support of each school’s success.

Serve as a visible culture builder that strengthens and nurtures environments that are safe, inclusive, and welcoming for all members of the community.

  • Communicate and collaborate with all members of the Board, engaging with the Board transparently on new or forthcoming developments, initiatives, and issues in the district; provide guidance that enables the board to function strategically and effectively.
  • Welcome students as active partners in the decision-making process ensuring that students' voices and feedback are heard at all levels of the organization.
  • Create the conditions for staff to collaborate, seek support, feel valued, and be empowered to demonstrate their best work on behalf of the scholars they serve.

Steward the success, sustainability, and equity of the district’s finances and operations.

  • Systematize key functions in the district to maximize efficiency, enhance productivity, and increase access to necessary information for all internal and external stakeholders.
  • Manage organizational operations and the planning, supervision, and evaluation of the staff, programs, services, and facilities of the district.
  • Direct the identification of funding opportunities that enhance the district’s revenues through grants, referendums and legislation.
  • Promote equitable and inclusive recruiting, hiring, and onboarding practices to find, grow, and keep a diverse team.
  • Develop the leadership pipeline and tap into the potential of current and future leaders.

What Skills You Need to Be Successful (Competencies)

Student-Centered Instructional Leadership

  • Track record of improving outcomes for all students, and especially Black, Latinx, and Asian communities.
  • Ensures that every aspect of academic and non-academic programming is tailored to meet the needs of our students, with attention to our most vulnerable and marginalized students.
  • Challenges assumptions and preconceived notions when needed to avoid distraction from core priorities and goals in the best interest of student success.

Demonstrated Ability to Implement and Manage Equitable Practices

  • Addresses matters of race, equity and bias in how decisions are made with clarity, confidence, humility, historical context, and empathy. Recognizes power dynamics that exist within the organization at all levels and eliminates inequities through honest conversations and purposeful actions.
  • Navigates systemic racism and other oppressive systems through intentional analysis and documented action; addresses systemic inequities to improve the experience and outcomes for students, teachers, staff and families of color across the district.
  • Fosters, promotes, and drives a culture of inclusion in the organization and commits to strengthen equitable practices in the district’s planning, prioritization and implementation of key initiatives.
  • Creates authentic, meaningful relationships across lines of difference (race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic background, LGBTQIA+ status, etc.) both internally and externally.

Collaboration and Coalition Building

  • Builds coalitions and fosters collaborative relationships with others that are impactful and sustainable.
  • Views families, students, staff and partners as assets and welcomes input from others.
  • Builds trust among Board members, district staff, teachers, and leaders, and core stakeholders to establish a shared vision for the district.
  • Navigates politically complex structures, relationships and dynamics to challenge ideas and enable thoughtful decisions and positive outcomes for students.
  • Maintains visibility with purpose in our schools, community, and with district partners.
  • Demonstrates cultural fluency, responsiveness, and awareness while approaching the work with a strong equity lens to establish a culture of growth and a learning mindset around issues of equity and inclusion.

Team Leadership

  • Strengthens the professional climate and culture of our staff so that they are able to do their best work.
  • Effectively balances the tension between local site-based decision-making, school leaders and the vision/need for coherence and equity across all schools.
  • Builds, inspires, manages and coaches an effective senior leadership team/Cabinet to achieve ambitious goals aligned with the strategic plan.
  • Holds self and others accountable for high standards of performance, communication, collaboration and transparency toward the achievement of key goals and priorities.

Systems Perspective

  • Effectively prioritize competing demands.
  • Displays the will and skill to interrupt inequitable processes, systems, and practices through honest dialogue; goes beyond recognition of racial disparities to take responsibility and accountability for making things just.
  • Analyzes complex situations and data, before making decisions, and then sets clear metrics for success, monitors progress and honestly acknowledges mistakes when something does not go as planned.
  • Operates at a micro and macro level, paying acute attention to detail while balancing the overarching goals with detailed steps to achieve the district’s objectives and priorities.


  • Commits to continuous improvement through analysis, inquiry, and assessment of results and alignment to district strategic priorities.
  • Willing to disrupt long-standing patterns in order to find creative solutions. Envisions the possibilities that others may not see and offer innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
  • Unifies students, parents, board members, education leaders, city and state officials, and other key stakeholders behind a shared vision to inspire and drive investment in the district's programming and operational needs.

Minimum Qualifications

  • At least three years of teaching/classroom experience or experience in a direct student-facing role.
  • Demonstrated track record of success with improving student and data-driven decision making ideally in an urban public school district setting.
  • Administrative experience leading an organization matching the scale and complexity of an urban school system; includes managing a budget and leadership team supporting multiple units or organizations spread over a geographic area.
  • Successful experience working in diverse economic, multicultural, and multilingual communities and environments. Proven cultural competence skills with a history of inclusive and relevant equity practices.
  • Knowledgeable about Madison and/or committed to becoming an engaged and longstanding member of the community.
  • Deep understanding of the complexity of education systems and evidence of leading large-scale change in urban public school contexts.
  • Experience and successful track record of collaboration with labor unions and collective bargaining units.
  • Experience working in conjunction with a board to identify priorities, establish goals, monitor progress, and produce outcomes in service to stakeholders.
  • Exceptional written, oral, and visual communication skills and a desire to develop and maintain deep relationships with a variety of diverse constituents.
  • Meets eligibility criteria for a Superintendent’s license in the State of Wisconsin.

Salary for this integral leadership position is competitive, and commensurate with prior experience. In addition, a comprehensive benefits package will be included in the ultimate offer for the identified sole finalist. We look forward to discussing details with you as the interview process progresses.

How to Apply

Alma Advisory Group is honored to support the Madison Metropolitan School District on this search. Qualified candidates for the role of Superintendent should submit a letter of interest tailored to this opportunity and a resume that clearly demonstrates the aforementioned qualifications.