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School & District Management

Minneapolis Taps a Former Massachusetts Superintendent to Lead the District

By Denisa R. Superville — December 08, 2015 2 min read
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The Minneapolis school board has chosen Sergio Paez, the former superintendent of the Holyoke, Mass., district to lead the school system.

Paez will take over from interim superintendent Michael Goar, who has been serving in the top job since February, following the January resignation of Bernadeia Johnson. Goar had been Johnson’s chief executive.

Goar was a finalist for the position, along with Charles Foust, a school support officer from the Houston school district. Six of the nine board members voted for Paez, while three favored Goar.

The school board and Paez still have to negotiate his salary and start date. The district said Monday that the start date will be some time before the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.

Monday’s decision brought an end to a 10-month search process.

Paez said in a statement that he was “honored and humbled” to be chosen for the position and that he was grateful for the opportunity.

“I care deeply about children, and the education I know is crucial to giving them a chance at a bright future,” he said.

But he also noted that the Minneapolis school district faces a host of challenges, including persistent achievement gaps, and committed to tackling those issues.

“The graduation rate will improve,” Paez said. “The achievement gap can and will shrink. And all of the children in MPS classrooms must be able to read at grade level or better. This is the only way we can make sure every student graduates college and career ready.”

Paez said his goal was to “create a sustainable, long-lasting culture of student achievement, community support and educational quality in Minneapolis.”

Paez served as superintendent of the Holyoke district from 2013 to earlier this year when the state of Massachusetts took over the district because it was “chronically underperforming.” While the district made progress under Paez’s leadership, including an increase in its graduation rate, state officials said that the gains were not enough after years of lagging academic performance. Some parents and teachers had rallied against the state takeover and the school board had argued that Paez needed more time to turn things around.

He was an assistant superintendent in Worcester, Mass., schools before moving to Holyoke, and has worked as an English-language-learner director, assistant principal, and teacher, according to the Minneapolis district. Paez, who is originally from Colombia, holds a doctorate in education from Boston College and a master’s degree in school administration from Harvard University.

Sergio Paez was chosen as the superintendent of the Minneapolis school district on Monday --Minneapolis Public Schools.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.