Home Madison Former Madisonian Dr. Joe Gothard named 2024 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year

Former Madisonian Dr. Joe Gothard named 2024 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Joe Gothard

Former Madisonian Dr. Joe Gothard, the current superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools, has been named the 2024 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year by the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.

Gothard leads St. Paul Public School, the second-largest and most diverse school district in Minnesota, with students who speak more than 100 languages and 70 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Gothard, who has been with St. Paul Public Schools since 2017, will be eligible for the national honor which will be announced at the American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education in February.

Gothard was superintendent of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District in Minnesota for four years prior to becoming the superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools. Before that, he was assistant superintendent for secondary schools for MMSD. The 6-foot-6-inch Gothard was once a biology teacher and the head football coach at Madison La Follette High School on Madison’s East Side where he would later become principal. Prior to that, Gothard was the principal at Akira R. Toki Middle School on Madison’s West Side.

“Dr. Gothard’s selection as the 2024 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year reflects his unwavering commitment to excellence in education and his exceptional leadership in our state’s educational community,” said MASA Executive Director Dr. Deb Henton in a statement. “His innovative leadership and dedication to fostering a supportive and equitable learning environment have significantly impacted the success of all SPPS students and educators. We congratulate Dr. Gothard, and we look forward to his continued successful contributions to SPPS and Minnesota’s education system.”

Dr. Gothard has earned a bachelor’s degree in biology education, a master’s degree in education, and a doctorate in educational leadership, all from Edgewood College.  

A panel of representatives from several Minnesota education groups chose Gothard for the state award. Nominees are evaluated on leadership for learning, communication skills, professionalism, and community involvement.

“Dr. Gothard has produced transformative change for SPPS with American Rescue Plan (ARP) spending to create a new district-wide department called the Innovation Office. The district’s ARP planning resulted in a needs assessment that received more than 11,000 responses from SPPS staff, students, and families,” MASA said in a statement announcing Dr. Gothard’s honor of 2024 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year. “The project management system developed by the Innovation Office has supported ongoing and emerging initiatives across the district, including work with their American Indian Parent Advisory Committee, Latino Consent Decree, and the recent planning and successful launch of the nation’s first East African Elementary Magnet School in September 2023.”