St. Paul schools superintendent picked to lead Madison, Wis., schools

A man speaks outside
St. Paul schools superintendent Joe Gothard speaks to reporters outside Central High School in 2021. On Monday, he was picked to lead the Madison, Wis., public school system.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

Joe Gothard, superintendent of the St. Paul Public Schools, was chosen Monday to be the next leader of the Madison, Wis., public school system. He’s expected to start sometime this summer.

Gothard, recently named national superintendent of the year, was one of three finalists for the job in Madison. He grew up in Madison, graduated from its public school system and started his career there as a teacher, coach and administrator.

He served as the superintendent of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district in the south Twin Citeis suburbs for four years before taking his current job in St. Paul, the state’s second largest school district, in 2017.

In St. Paul, he dealt with a brief teachers strike in 2020 and navigated the 33,000-student system through the COVID-19 pandemic.

News of Gothard’s new job comes on the same day that the St. Paul Federation of Educators set a March 11 strike date unless a contract deal is reached with the district.

Talks are continuing between the district and the union, which represents about 3,700 teachers, educational assistants and school professionals.

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