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St. Paul Leader Tenure Extended; Omaha, Columbus, Wichita, Aurora Leaders to Depart

  • Joe Gothard, superintendent of Minnesota’s St. Paul Public Schools, was recently given a three-year contract extension through June 2026. Gothard has been at the helm of the 32,000-student district since 2017.

    Under his leadership, the district launched a five-year strategic plan, SPPS Achieves, to focus the district’s efforts on seven long-term student outcomes. Voters also approved an increase to the district’s operating levy, resulting in approximately $18.6 million in additional school funding each year starting in the 2019-20 school year and continuing for 10 years.  

    “I want to thank the Board of Education and the Saint Paul community at large for placing their trust in me to lead our district in achieving equitable outcomes for all students,” said Gothard in a news statement. “I am counting on everyone to continue to hold me accountable over the next three years.”

    Omaha, Columbus, Wichita and Aurora Leaders to Step Down

    Cheryl Logan, superintendent of Nebraska’s Omaha Public Schools, recently announced she will step away from her position in June 2023. She has led the 52,000-student school district since 2018.

    During her tenure, the district launched a future-focused Strategic Plan of Action, implemented a new elementary reading and literacy curriculum, designed a district turnaround model of supports for selected schools to maximize student growth and achievement, and constructed five new schools.

    Talisa Dixon, superintendent of Ohio’s Columbus City Schools, recently announced she will retire at the end of the school year. Dixon has led the 47,000-student school district, the state’s largest, since 2019.

    Under her leadership, the district launched the Columbus Promise, an initiative providing free tuition for district seniors to attend Columbus State Community College, and created the Pathway Express initiative, aimed at creating hands-on learning experiences using the greater-Columbus community as its classroom.

    Also announcing retirement is Alicia Thompson, superintendent of Wichita Public Schools in Kansas. A graduate of the school system, Thompson has led the state’s largest school district since 2017. She will retire at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

    During her tenure, she launched the 47,517-student school district’s Every Student Future Ready strategic plan, which has resulted in increased graduation rates, improved literacy in the early grades, and an improvement in the district’s career and technical education program. In 2019, the district launched the Early College Academy to enable students to graduate high school with enough college credits for the equivalent of an associate degree.

    Also, stepping down is Rico Munn, superintendent of Colorado’s Aurora Public Schools, who will leave the school district at the end of this school year.

    Munn has led the 38,000-student system for nine years and since 2013, the district has  experienced a 25 percent overall increase in graduation rates, a 50 percent decline in dropout rates, a 70 percent decline in expulsions, and an overall increase in academic achievement, student growth and college readiness indicators. In 2019, Munn was named the Colorado superintendent of the year.

    Under an agreement with the Aurora school board, he will begin transitioning to a support role on December 31 and continue to serve the district on a modified schedule through the end of the 2022-2023 school year.