Dear Editor: When Jennifer Cheatham announced that she was resigning as the Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent, MMSD School Board President Mary Burke announced that the board must rush to appoint an interim superintendent by the end of the month. Since the board has its next and only remaining meeting on May 20, unless thebBoard announces a special meeting, that only provides 12 days to seek, vet and hire someone to run the second-largest school district in Wisconsin. Even if the board waits until May 31, that is still precious little time to engage in a quality search and hiring process.
There are simply no sound reasons for a rushed hiring process when Cheatham is not leaving until August. Any appointment will lose legitimacy in the eyes of the public if the public believes the hire was unnecessarily rushed, appearing to be rigged from the outset.
I urge the rest of the board to slow this process down and engage with the public so that our next superintendent, interim or otherwise, has been fully vetted, and has the support of not only the board, but the community as well. Doing so will give the best chance for our next superintendent to lead our district in a manner which will allow all of our students to receive a great education as evidenced by improved measurable outcomes, especially for students with disabilities and students of color, for whom the district has struggled to provide a high quality education for so many years. Anyone who is concerned about a rushed process can let your voice be heard by e-mailing the board at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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