Superintendent Art Rainwater attended his last Madison School Board meeting Monday night, and everything seemed so collegial and functional that it was easy to imagine it had always been this way.
But, of course, it was not.
Art Rainwater took over a school district that was in crisis.
When he succeeded former Superintendent Cheryl Wilhoyte a decade ago, the administration was at odds with much of the School Board, the community and, most seriously, with unions representing teachers and other school employees.
Much of the trouble had to do with Wilhoyte’s unwillingness — perhaps inability — to communicate in a straight-forward manner.
Rainwater changed things immediately.
He was frank and accessible, never spoke in the arcane jargon of education bureaucrats and set up a regular schedule of meetings with board members, community leaders and Madison Teachers Inc. executive director John Matthews.
Related: MMSD Today feature on Art Rainwater. Notes and links on Madison’s incoming Superintendent, Dan Nerad
Much more on retiring Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater.
Tamira Madsen covers Art’s last school board meeting.
Time Flies by Art Rainwater.
The Madison School District’s budget was $200,311,280 (24,710 enrollment) in 1994 and is $367,806,712 for the 2008/2009 (24,268 enrollment) school year.