Today, Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Superintendent, Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins announced his plans to retire from the district, effective July 28, 2023.
“There are times when we all struggle with choosing between doing what is right and doing what is right,” Jenkins said in a statement. “My three-year-old grandson, the joy of my life, is in his formative years, and I am looking forward to being more available to nurture and support his growth and development.”
Jenkins has served as MMSD Superintendent since 2020. His 34 years as an educator includes serving as Superintendent of the Robbinsdale (Minnesota) Area School District, Chief Academic Officer for the Atlanta (Georgia) public school system, Superintendent of the Saginaw (Michigan) Public School District, and as President of Michigan’s African American Superintendents Association. Early in his career, Dr. Jenkins served as principal with Beloit Public Schools, and Columbus (Ohio) Public Schools as well as an associate high school principal with MMSD.
In an interview Wednesday, Board of Education president Ali Muldrow had strong praise for Jenkins.
“I responded to Dr. Jenkins’ retirement with both sadness and a sense of incredible gratitude for all that he’s given to our district,” Muldrow said. “I don’t think we could have asked more of him than what we’ve asked of him in the last three years. He has worked constantly to make sure our kids could return to school in person safely, to pass two historic referendums, to be at the forefront of equity, to ensure that we are invested in early literacy. He’s been phenomenal to work with and he’ll be deeply missed.”
Muldrow also noted the historic nature of his appointment.
“For me as board president as the first Black woman to be a Board of Education President, the opportunity to hire our first Black superintendent is something that I will always treasure,” Muldrow said. “Dr. Jenkins has made himself part of the history of who we are as a community. It’s not easy to be the first Black person in any role.”
“Working on behalf of such an outstanding community has produced many joys, as well as moments which caused me to reflect on how to enhance my leadership in the interest of producing better outcomes for all children and youth. At last week’s State of the District address, I was proud to share where our amazing district is heading,” Jenkins said in a statement. “Through it all, the lessons I have learned from this community have made me stronger as an educator, leader, and person.”
Just last week, Jenkins delivered his annual State of the District address, in which he said the district remained focused on addressing issues like racial disparities in educational outcomes.
“We’ve been talking about as a staff how we’re addressing disparities often faced by students from historically excluded groups,” Jenkins said in that address. “It’s a hot topic across the nation. We’ve been talking about how we’re going to provide support for the whole student. We’ve been talking about how we’re going to support our staff and support ourselves as we’re going through this with our students socially, emotionally and mentally.”
Jenkins joined the school district after serving as superintendent in Robbinsdale School District in New Hope, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, for the previous five years. He previously served as Chief Academic Officer for the Atlanta Public School System in Atlanta, Georgia, and superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools in Saginaw Michigan. He has held leadership positions in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan including as an MMSD associate principal for Madison Memorial High School, and associate principal and principal with the Beloit Public School District in Beloit, Wisconsin.
More information on the transition process will be provided in the upcoming weeks.