Wisconsin’s largest school district has a new permanent superintendent. Keith Posley has been interim superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools since May. At a special meeting Tuesday, the school board unanimously voted to negotiate a permanent contract.
The MPS School Board is hiring from within, as Posley is long-time district employee. He’s been with MPS for 29 years, as a teacher and then administrator. He took over for former superintendent Darienne Driver after she left for another job in the spring.
Since then, Posley has said repeatedly that he is interested in the permanent job. And the school board has praised him for his work for far.
The board held multiple closed-door meetings over the past couple months to discuss Posley’s contract. At Tuesday’s meeting, the board talked in private for more than an hour before coming back into public session with a decision.
The eight members voted unanimously to begin contract negotiations to keep Posley on the job.
“I’m excited,” Posley said after the meeting. “I’m ready to go to work for young people, which I’ve been doing for last 29 years. That won’t change, my commitment won’t change. It’s just going to be even more intense to get where we need to be.”
Posley says his goal is for all MPS students to be proficient in core subjects: reading, math and writing.
It’ll be an uphill battle. Recently-released state exam results show just one in five MPS students is proficient in English and even fewer are proficient in math.
“We are not where we need to be as a district, but [Posley’s] desire to take us there proves well,” said School Board President Mark Sain. “I think his focus is in the right place. And I think with the board’s support and support from staff we’ll get our children there.”
As the new superintendent continues his work, the board may ask the public what they want in a school district leader. Board member Paula Phillips said she wanted to hold a public forum on the subject next month.
As for Posley, he says he wants to stay in the permanent job for as long as the district will have him.
“Hey, I’m at home, I’m ending my career [here],” Posley said. “This is Milwaukee, this is where I’m going to be. I’m here.”
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