Retiring Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater’s Reign, A Look Back


On June 30th, Art Rainwater is stepping down as superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District.
It’s a position the 65-year-old never expected to fill, in Madison or anywhere else.
“My only career goal was to be a high school football coach,” says Rainwater.
He was in 1965. Rainwater’s career kicked off in Arkansas. The teacher-coach then moved to Texas. Next, Rainwater took a principal job in Alabama. His path eventually led to administrative work in Missouri. Then, in 1994, Rainwater became deputy superintendent in Wisconsin’s Capitol City.
“I’ve served at almost every level of the K-12 education system that you can serve,” he says.
In 1998, he added interim superintendent to his resume, replacing Cheryl Wilhoyte. During her tenure the district hit plenty of road bumps. Tensions were high.
“I think there was a lot of dissatisfaction, across the community, with the school district, at that time,” says Rainwater. “So, the damage control was pretty obvious, (it) was going to happen.”
Rainwater came in with three immediate goals. Smooth things over with the teachers union. Repair the district’s relationship with the UW. And, gain the support of the business community.
“I thought by doing those three things, it would put the new superintendent, in place, to come in and hit the ground running,” he adds.

Many notes and links on Art Rainwater can be found here.