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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

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The school board appears ready to tap retired school leader Dan Donder as the district's interim superintendent.
The school board appears ready to tap retired school leader Dan Donder as the district's interim superintendent.

Donder appears to lead pack of MPS interim superintendent finalists

Though a short list of four potential candidates has been circulating recently, veteran and recently retired Milwaukee Public Schools principal Dan Donder looks set to become the interim superintendent at MPS.

That short list is also rumored to include former principal and administrator Willie Jude, UWM Associate Dean of Students Tom McGinnity and MPS Chief Human Capital Officer Karen Jackson. Retired MPS administrator Anita Pietrykowski was also on that list until she apparently asked to be removed from it.

But the buzz now focuses on Donder, who is popular among teachers and administrators and is seen as someone who can build bridges between schools and the central office on Vliet Street.

Donder, who just recently retired, took on the emergency task of leading Bay View High School last year and completely reorganized the school, suggesting he has the skills to lead the district.

Donder's experience and training includes strong work in special education and leading arts schools.

The rumor mill says the board has already offered the position to Donder though it's unclear whether or not he's accepted verbally. A contract still must be signed, but expect to see some action on this at next Thursday's board organizational meeting.

If hired, Donder would assume his post upon the departure of current MPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton, who starts his new job leading Baltimore City Schools on July 1. It is also possible Donder would begin earlier to help ensure continuity within the district.


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