Friday, January 22, 2010

Thornton Picked As Superintendent For The Milwaukee Public School District

Gregory E. Thornton, newly select MPSD Superintendent
(Photo: Seattle Times, 2007)

Superintendent from Chester Upland School District in
Pennsylvania selected as Milwaukee Public School District Superintendent

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 22, 2010

Milwaukee - On Friday, Members of the Milwaukee Public School Board voted unanimously just after 7:00 p.m. to hire Gregory E. Thornton Ed. D., 54, as the new superintendent to lead the Milwaukee Public School District (MPSD). Thornton is currently the superintendent of Chester Upland Public School District in Chester, Pennsylvania.
The MPS Board hired Thornton among three candidates, despite his filing for individual bankruptcy in 1997, and had been criticised for taking a trip to Africa.
In April 2007, the Seattle Times reported Thornton's reputation took a blow in 2006 when ethical questions were raised about a 2004 trip he took to Africa, subsidized by a software company that later won a large, no-bid contract with the district. Thornton at the time had said he planned the trip, as part of a group of black educators, before he was hired in Philadelphia; the district cleared Thornton of any wrongdoing although some critics remained skeptical.
The two other candidates were Robert Alfaro, a regional superintendent of the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Stacy Scott, associate superintendent of Montgomery County Public School District in Rockville, Maryland.
Thornton will get a 2-year contract from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012, and will be paid $260,000 annually, according to MPSD Board. MPSD has 85,000 students enrolled and operates with a yearly budget of $1.1 billion.
Thornton comes in as superintendent at a time when a governor-mayoral controversial push to takeover the Milwaukee Public School District has divided the city. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and outgoing Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle want the City of Milwaukee and the Mayor to set policy and manage MPSD. Doyle (Dem.) won't seek re-election, and Barrett (Dem.) has announced he is a candidate for governor.
Thornton's hiring could hamper efforts by Barrett and Doyle to takeover the school district. MPSD Board have hired an attorney to challenge the governor-mayoral takeover. The state legislature has stalled a bill favoring the takeover, due to major oposition efforts against the governor-mayoral takeover. 

Thornton's background:

Education: Bachelor's degree in elementary education/math, Temple University master's degree in administration supervision, Salisbury State University; doctorate in educational leadership, Nova Southeastern University.

Experience: Current superintendent of Chester Upland School District in Chester, PA, 2007-present; chief academic officer in Philadelphia, 2004-2007; community superintendent, deputy superintendent, Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools, 2002 2004; assistant superintendent, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County (N.C.) Public Schools 1998-2002; coordinating director of secondary schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Public Schools, 1997-1998; elementary and high-school principal in Maryland, Delaware and North Carolina, 1981-1997.

Related article link "Opposition To Governor And Mayoral Takeover Of MPS Grows" 

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