New Interim Superintendent Elected for Salt Lake City School District

Martin Bates, a former Granite School District superintendent, will take over as head of the district on Wednesday.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Salt Lake City School Board will announce Martin Bates as the district’s interim superintendent on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, after placing Timothy Gadson in an advisory role after mediation.

The Salt Lake City School Board named Martin Bates, a former Granite School District superintendent, as the district’s interim superintendent at a meeting Tuesday night.

Bates, who retired in 2021 after 11 years as Granite’s superintendent, will lead the district “for a few months” while the board searches for a permanent replacement, board chairman Melissa Ford said.

The board put former Superintendent Timothy Gadson III on leave and offered him a severance package in July, although he was eventually placed in an advisory role during a September 23 meeting after asking to mediate.

The board said in a statement during the meeting two weeks ago there was “no wrongdoing by Dr. Gadson and it was not reported by Dr. Gadson has not been found to have violated the law by the Salt Lake City School Board.”

Business Administrator Alan Kearsley oversaw the district during the months Gadson was on furlough. Gadson did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Bates, who began working in education 30 years ago as a special education and math teacher, will start on Wednesday. He graduated from Highland High School and raised eight children, all of whom attended school in Salt Lake City.

“I look forward to helping this board, and the board who will take office in January, serve and support the children, families and staff of the Salt Lake City School District,” said Bates.

Salt Lake Education Association vice president Mike Harman expressed frustration with the board during the public comment period for not engaging with students, families and staff before Bates’ appointment.

“I keep hoping that you, as board members, will recognize the damage you are doing to public trust and employee morale by not being open and transparent about important decisions like this one,” Harman said. That hope, he added, was fading.

While he doesn’t question Bates’ qualifications, Harman said he was “extremely disappointed” with the board for not taking public comment ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

“We all talk about the importance of shared leadership and how that characterizes our district, but the actions of this board do not foster a sense of collaboration with stakeholders,” Harman said.

The board may have met its legal obligation to vote on an interim superintendent in a public meeting, Harman said, but by merely putting forward a name rather than engaging in public discussions about potential candidates, Harman indicated that Bates’ appointment was a “given thing”.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2022/10/04/new-interim-superintendent/ New Interim Superintendent Elected for Salt Lake City School District

Justin Scacco

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