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Superintendent Message re: MJS Principal Search
Mark Schwarz
Friday, March 05, 2021

MJS Parents and Students,

I am writing to invite you to assist Madison Public Schools in the important task of developing the selection criteria which will be used to identify the next permanent MJS Principal. This message provides context regarding the status of the Principal vacancy and invites community members to join in a virtual collaboration exercise to establish the selection criteria for the MJS principalship. 


In the Spring of 2020, we conducted a search to identify a permanent replacement for the departing MJS Principal. After gathering stakeholder input and following a rigorous, multi-step selection process, our search successfully identified a highly-qualified and experienced principal who expressed sincere interest in leading the MJS community. Unfortunately, shortly after being offered the position, the candidate decided to remain in their current position as a principal in another district. After consulting with members of the selection committee, it was decided that the remaining finalists did not meet our rigorous criteria. 

Fortunately, Assistant Principal Brooke Phillips expressed interest in serving as Acting Principal for the 2020-21 school year. She was appointed in July of 2020 as Acting Principal on a temporary basis so that the district would have time to engage in a second search for a permanent candidate. That search was delayed until now so that we could advertise at a time of the year when the principal candidate pool is the strongest. 

We are incredibly grateful to Ms. Phillips for her capable and caring leadership to the MJS community during this challenging year.  She will continue to serve as the Acting Principal until the permanent position is filled. 


To ensure that our selection process has sufficient time to be successful, the district will begin advertising the vacancy now. The anticipated start date for the successful candidate will be July 1, 2021. The posting will be distributed across various electronic platforms as well as traditional newspapers. Further, our administrative team will leverage our professional networks to recruit the strongest candidates to apply for the opening. 

While we are awaiting applications from interested candidates, we will develop selection criteria with input from students, parents, and faculty members. This process will involve the use of the online collaboration platform called Thoughtexchange (see below for participation instructions).

After the selection criteria has been established, the administrative team will identify all applicants that appear to meet this criteria. The identified candidates will take part in a rigorous screening process in which their experience, disposition, and technical skills will be vetted by a panel of administrators. The district will then convene a stakeholder panel which will allow representatives of various community groups to ask questions of the strongest candidates. The finalists identified by the panel will then be invited to a summative performance task and a final interview with the Superintendent to determine the best candidate for the position. 

Selection criteria development process using Thoughtexchange

In order to help us develop selection criteria that incorporates the most commonly valued attributes for our next MJS Principal, all faculty, students and parents are invited to participate in a virtual collaboration exercise from Friday, March 5 to Monday, March 15.  The conversation will occur within the Thoughtexchange platform. This software provides an anonymous forum in which individuals can contribute ideas, rate the ideas of others, and observe which ideas receive the highest ratings. 

To participate, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Watch this one-minute Thoughtexchange introductory video to understand how to participate.

  2. Access the MJS Principal Profile Thoughtexchange and follow the instructions.

  3. Visit the Thoughtexchange multiple times between March 5 and March 15 to see how the conversation develops and to rate new thoughts as they are added. 

Thank you for assisting us in our efforts to identify the next MJS Principal. We look forward to engaging in this important process with you. 

Mark Schwarz

Superintendent of Madison Public Schools