Wauwatosa School Board Names Dr. Demond Means Superintendent
The Wauwatosa School Board has named Dr. Demond A. Means as the next superintendent of the Wauwatosa School District.
Dr. Means, who will begin serving the district on July 1, 2021, is an experienced and innovative educational leader with a passion for addressing achievement gaps, seeking continuous improvement and cultivating relationships to positively affect student learning. Throughout his career, Dr. Means has spearheaded major change initiatives - often during difficult transitions - using open communication, effective conflict resolution and collaborative problem-solving to achieve ambitious goals for the schools and districts under his leadership.
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of our extensive search process. Dr. Means’ qualifications are a true reflection of the Superintendent Profile that was created by our learning community, proving that he is truly the best fit to carry forward the vision, mission and values of the Wauwatosa School District,” said Dr. Eric Jessup-Anger, Board President. “His track record of driving continuous improvement in student learning, along with his commitment to building strong relationships that benefit students, aligns perfectly with the Wauwatosa School District and establishes his ability to succeed in this role.”
Dr. Means is currently serving as the assistant director of family and community engagement and continuous improvement for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He has previously served as an educational consultant focused on diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and programming for the Center for Equity and Leadership, based in Milwaukee.
From 2017 to 2020, Dr. Means was superintendent of the Clarke County School District in Athens, Georgia. There, he successfully led the effort to increase third-grade reading scores after just one year of instructional reform. He also served as superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville School District from 2008 to 2017. During Dr. Means’ tenure, the Mequon-Thiensville School District was named the number one district in the state in terms of academic performance.
In both districts, Dr. Means successfully worked with staff and the leadership teams to sustain and protect existing aspects of the system that were successful, while aggressively addressing academic and social-emotional disparities for his students. He has also built a reputation for advocating for a wide array of community members, listening to diverse viewpoints and having hard conversations in order to address important issues.
“It is a true honor to serve as the next superintendent of the Wauwatosa School District,” said Dr. Means. “I very much look forward to partnering with a forward-thinking school board and community to raise achievement for all students. This is a tremendous opportunity for me to share my passion for implementing educational equity practices through effective instruction, inclusive school cultures and transparent relationships throughout the school system.”
Prior to serving as a superintendent, Dr. Means was director of human resources and co-interim superintendent of the Wauwatosa School District. He was also principal of Maple Dale Middle School in Milwaukee (which is a feeder school for Nicolet High School) and an associate principal at Nicolet High School. He began his career as a social studies teacher at Homestead High School in Mequon. Dr. Means earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Concordia University, and obtained a Master’s Degree and Doctorate from Cardinal Stritch University.
The Wauwatosa School Board worked closely with School Exec Connect to fill this critical role. As part of the strategic hiring process, feedback was gathered from all stakeholder groups via focus groups, surveys and email communications to the board. School Exec Connect used this information to develop a superintendent profile, which was used to assess applicants and identify the top six candidates. The board conducted virtual interviews and narrowed the pool to the top three.
The final three candidates each spent a full day immersed in the Wauwatosa School District, meeting the leadership team, visiting schools, speaking with students and participating in a community forum. The day concluded with a final interview with the School Board.
Stakeholders were then encouraged to provide additional feedback via a survey and/or an email message to the board. Board members thoroughly researched each candidate's background, spending hours in discussions with candidates, references and community members ranging from school staff and local officials to colleagues and even clergy members. A compilation of references and feedback can be found here.
“The search for the next Wauwatosa School District Superintendent was the most deliberate, involved and community-centric search that I’ve participated in,” stated Dr. Jack Linehan, Partner at School Exec Connect. “The emphasis on community feedback was extensive and the Wauwatosa School District’s approach could serve as a model for other districts in search of a new Superintendent.”
The School Board will meet Monday, May 3, 2021 to take formal action on Dr. Means’ contract with the district.
In his first months as Superintendent, Dr. Means intends to launch a listening tour to immerse himself into the community and hear a variety of perspectives from staff, students, families and other members of our community. Information will be shared with the community when details have been finalized.
Dr. Means states, “A hallmark of the Wauwatosa School District is a high level of engagement from all stakeholders. To that end, I plan to conduct a listening tour to solicit the input and opinions of staff, parents, community and our students about their vision for the district. Further, the engagement process will occur on various platforms and environments, inviting a more robust and diverse collection of perspectives. The opportunity to join a community that has fully accepted the audacious goal of closing academic and opportunity gaps along with the persisting climate gap has piqued my professional interest in ways that I have never been enthused before in my career. It is important to listen and learn from the community as I establish trusting relationships. Only together can we achieve our collective goals for the children of Wauwatosa.”