No one appreciates Mary Gulbrandsen’s contributions to the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) more than her boss, superintendent Art Rainwater. When we included Gulbrandsen in Madison Magazine’s 2004 People You Should Know list, Rainwater was the first to let us know we’d made an inspired choice. As MMSD chief of staff for the last two years, Gulbrandsen’s influence on all aspects of Madison’s K-12 schools is undeniable. From long-range planning to finance and operations to performance and achievement, district administration minutes suggest Gulbrandsen has spent the last two years in meetings. But seeing her in action on some of the most difficult issues, like the school environment for kids and families of color, proves what a skilled administrator she’s become. Add on top of all that her striking warmth and good sense, and Gulbrandsen seems a perfect fit for her behind-the-scenes position of power.
From “Power Influence & Anonymity: The Seven Women Power Brokers You Need to Know” by Robert Chappell, Neil Heinen and Brennan Nardi
Madison Magazine, November 2005