Jenkins retiring as Madison schools superintendent

On Wednesday, the Madison Metropolitan School District announced superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins would retire at the end of July.
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 11:09 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – From parents to school board members, the announcement of the Madison Metropolitan School District’s superintendent planning to step down was a surprising one. On Wednesday, the district announced Dr. Carlton Jenkins would retire at the end of July.

“There are times when we all struggle with choosing between doing what is right and doing what is right,” said Dr. Jenkins. “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.”

Following the announcement, the school district released a statement: “The Board would like to express our gratitude for Superintendent Dr. Jenkins’ leadership and commitment to MMSD scholars, families, staff, and community. In the upcoming days, the board will be meeting to determine the next steps in our process to find our next superintendent.”

In announcing the retirement, the district highlighted Jenkins’ more than 30 years in education, serving as superintendent in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, and Saginaw, Michigan. He was also the Chief Academic Office for Atlanta’s public school system. During his time in Michigan, Jenkins had been president of the African American Superintendents Association.

“Dr. Jenkins was the right superintendent, I believe, at the right time for the school district,” said MMSD spokesperson Tim LeMonds. “In the meantime, our focus is finishing this school year strong, Dr. Jenkins will be our superintendent until the end of July, and so we’re going to continue our good work, and that process will be moving forward simultaneously.”

LeMonds added that he believes Jenkins’ family and getting to spending more time with them played a strong role in his decision to retire. As the district prepares to search for a new superintendent, the president of the union Madison Teachers Incorporated, Michael Jones, says he wishes Jenkins well but is “anxious” over the future of the budget.

“I think we were already in an anxious place just kind of knowing where our budget is, knowing that the cost of living is eight percent due to inflation and our staffing is short of that mark,” said Jones.

And MMSD parents, like Joe Fahrenkrug, hope the transition can happen quickly, potentially looking inside the district for the next candidate.

“I mean, ideally, I think you know, we’d be happy to see someone look internally in Madison and find the next leader who’s already invested in the community, who knows the schools, who knows the community,” said Fahrenkrug.

According to the district, Jenkins was on a two-year contract, receiving a one-year extension, which would come to a close over the summer, which means he will retire without breaking his contract.

“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,” Jenkins said. “At last week’s State of the District address, I was proud to share where our amazing district is heading.”

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