Black community leaders raise concerns over MMSD's next superintendent

Dr. Matthew Gutierrez (Source: WMTV)
Dr. Matthew Gutierrez (Source: WMTV)(NBC15)
Published: Feb. 27, 2020 at 10:02 PM CST
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Some African-American community leaders are raising concerns about the incoming Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent, Matthew Gutierrez.

Thirteen leaders in the black community laid out their concerns in a letter to the Madison School Board, arguing that the hiring process lacked input from the black community.

The letter sent to the Madison School District and the Board’s statement are attached to this article.

Gregory Jones is the leader of the Dane county NAACP and one of the 13 who signed and sent the letter.

"We ask questions about whether or not we have confidence in that person's individual accomplishments, experience and achievements to make a change, fundamentally, that address what we see."

Gutierrez is currently the superintendent of the Seguin Independent School District in Texas, which has about 7,300 students.

The Madison school district serves 27,000 students.

"The selected individual is coming from a very small district that district does not have demonstrate it has the scope or quantity of issues that are going to arise," Jones said.

According to the letter, "there is absolutely no evidence exhibited in his resume or experience that demonstrates he is capable of performing well with little to no background in transforming school districts of this magnitude.”

"That letter was really straight-forward and as representative as it can be. Not harsh it all, setting the tone about going forward," Jones said.

The CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, Michael Johnson, sees both sides of the issue. He opted to not to sign the letter.

"I want him to get off to a good start," Johnson said. "I would say I believe that he's qualified, and I think he earned the job and the school board appointed him to the role. We just need to welcome him with open arms. "

Johnson said while he agrees there are important issues that need to be fixed within the district, he plans give Gutierrez the opportunity to excel while still holding him accountable.

NBC15 News spoke to Gutierrez over the phone, and he referred to the school board's statement.

The letter sent to the Madison School District and the Board’s statement are attached to this article.

Gutierrez is set to begin his job June 1.

The Dane County Consortium wrote a letter Feb. 27 with 17 signatures saying Gutierrez is "eminently qualified to lead the district." Read full letter