This afternoon the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Board of Education announced Dr. Matthew Gutiérrez as their final selection for superintendent after an unprecedented process.
“We believe we have selected the right leader for our district, someone with a strong reputation of being a very collaborative leader with an excellent track record of academic success for the students he has served,” Board of Education President Gloria Reyes said in a press conference.
Gutiérrez will be the first Latino to lead the Madison Metropolitan School District. Reyes said the board believes representation matters and was impressed by his commitment to Black excellence.
She said the board came to a unanimous decision in a closed door session last Friday, however, the decision did not become finalized until the board engaged Gutiérrez in a contract. Dr. Gutiérrez currently serves as the superintendent of the Seguin Independent School District in Seguin, Texas.
“His story is amazing. We have a young man who grew up in poverty in Seguin, Texas. He was able to overcome those barriers and become superintendent of a school district in Texas,” Reyes said.
Reyes said Gutiérrez fit the leadership profile developed with community support. She also said the board did not allow politics to affect their decision and that Gutiérrez quickly rose to the top of the candidate pool.
“I was really impressed by Dr. Gutierrez (and) his commitment to our students and Black excellence. He matched our profile,” Reyes said.
This announcement comes after superintendent finalist Dr. Eric Thomas announced his resignation as the deputy superintendent and chief turnaround officer for the Georgia State Board of Education in Atlanta, Georgia a few months after an internal investigation launched into the school turnaround office. Reyes said this had no effect on the board’s decision.
“We knew a lot of this information coming in. The board has more information than the community in a process like this,” she said.
Reyes thanked both Dr. Marguerite Vanden WynGaard and Dr. Thomas for their interest in the position and participating in this process. She said community members offered valued feedback.
Reyes said the board considered Gutiérrez’s engagement with students and community members. She applauded Gutiérrez’s steps to ask the students about how they felt about police officers in school rather than focusing on his own answer. Reyes also thanked community members for their questions and considerations in person and online.
“Although it was the board who makes the final decision it was through unprecedented community input that we were able to develop a leadership profile representing the voice of our community that we could use as our guide,” she said.
Reyes said Interim Superintendent Jane Belmore’s contract ends on June 30, which will allow time for the transition. Gutiérrez will finish the academic year with the Seguin Independent School District and will begin his role as superintendent with MMSD on June 1.
“The board has made some great decisions, hiring Jane Belmore as interim superintendent who served in this role before,” Reyes said.
Gutiérrez’s contract was officially finalized today. In the near future, Reyes said the district plans to host an event welcoming him to the community.