Madison East High School principal Sean Leavy has been reassigned to a district administration position and assistant principal Mikki Smith will take over as principal for the remainder of the school year effective Wednesday, Madison Metropolitan School District officials announced.
Smith has been assistant principal at East for 11 years and assistant principal at other Madison high schools for nine years before that. She becomes the first Black woman to lead a Madison high school.
Leavy will become Director of Secondary Multi-Tiered Support and Scheduling for the district.
“This change reflects MMSD’s commitment to ensure our school district has a leadership team who are in roles that best optimize their experience and skills to move MMSD forward toward reaching our Strategic Framework goals,” MMSD spokesman Timothy LeMond wrote in an email to media.
“We are very confident Ms. Smith’s leadership qualities and experience will help provide a smooth transition for the East community,” MMSD Superintendent Carlton Jenkins wrote in an email to East families. Jenkins said a search for a permanent principal will begin soon.
The change comes after a series of student walkouts to protest the school administration’s response to allegations of sexual assault among students. Students told the Capital Times that Leavy referred to one account of an incident a “rumor” and asked one student whether they had been drunk.
Leavy later apologized for that account and joined students at their walkout and rally.
The early going of the school year has also been marred by fights among students, though the largest of those have taken place just off school grounds are do not appear to be linked to the decision to move Leavy into a new role.
Leavy joined the district just three months ago from the Westosha School District, where he served as an associate principal.
Smith is East’s third principal in just over two years, as Brendan Kearney took over in the fall of 2019 when former principal Mike Hernandez became the district’s chief of high schools. Kearny announced in July of 2021 that he was leaving the district for family reasons and Leavy was announced as his replacement on July 29.