July 10, 2008

Superintendent Shaw? Strong candidate emerges for Unified's vacancy

WEAC President Stan Johnson (left) presents the Friend of Education Award to former Menomonee Falls School District Superintendent James Shaw in 2001.

Geez, where was this guy a few months ago?

Dr. James Shaw, a professor at UW-Madison, is the surprise front-runner for Racine Unified's vacant superintendent's job. He also looks like the best candidate yet to apply for the job. Shaw has been a teacher, administrator and researcher, served as head of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators and was named state superintendent of the year. (Click here to download his CV.)

Plus, a quick check on Google turned up no skeletons in his closet - already a big improvement over previous finalists. The funny/sad part of this: Shaw contacted Unified for the opening. Go figure, you post a job opening and candidates apply without hiring a search firm for $30,000.

Dr. Shaw, welcome to Racine.

Here's the full release from Unified:
RUSD School Board to Interview Superintendent Candidate

The Racine Unified School Board will be interviewing Dr. James Shaw for the Superintendent of Schools position on Monday, July 14. Dr. Shaw contacted the district's attorney last month to inquire about the vacancy and to discuss if his leadership would be mutually beneficial. After a review of Dr. Shaw's qualifications, the school board has agreed to interview him next week. The School Board will update the parents, staff, and community on the next steps, if necessary, in the process after the interview.

Dr. Shaw currently serves as a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he views his role to better connect University research and leadership practice to improve public education. His goal is to advance leadership practices that promote equitable, high quality student learning, as well as systemic organizational and professional learning. His leadership experience at the University includes serving as Director of the Wisconsin Idea Executive PhD Program and Coordinator of the Master Administrator Capstone Certificate Program.

Dr. Shaw's leadership experience in K-12 public education includes serving as CESA Agency Administrator, Superintendent of Schools, School Business Manager, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Pupil Services, School Psychologist, and Social Studies Teacher. Before joining UW-Madison, he served as Agency Administrator for CESA #2, which provides programs and services for 72 school districts and has an annual budget exceeding $8 million. He served as Superintendent of Schools for the School District of Menomonee Falls for 10 years before joining CESA. He also worked for the School District of Kettle Moraine for 17 years serving as Assistant Superintendent for Business, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Student Services, and School Psychologist. He began his education career as a Social Studies teacher in Waukesha.

Dr. Shaw received his BA in Psychology and Philosophy from Marquette University; his MS in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; his PhD in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been recognized for his work in education by many organizations. Some of Dr. Shaw's recognitions include the Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Education, Friend of Education Award from the Wisconsin Education Association, and Wisconsin Superintendent of the Year from the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators and the American Association of School Administrators.

Dr. Shaw has several published works including: Doubling Student Performance: A School Leaders Guide to Closing Achievement Gaps and Improving Learning for All Students, Comprehensive Leadership Development: A Portrait of Programs, The Master Administrator Capstone Certificate: Professional Development for Advanced K-12 Educational Leaders, and Instructional Leadership and Technology. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Phi Delta Kappa's University of Wisconsin chapter, a member of the American Educational Research Association, an advisory board member for the Wisconsin New Teacher Project, and a member and former president of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators.


  1. How the hell did the search firm miss this guy!?

  2. Quick - someone get Dr. Shaw a contract. This guy seems perfect. Sign him before someone else does. He appears to be what Racine needs!

  3. "WEAC President Stan Johnson (left) presents the Friend of Education Award to former Menomonee Falls School District Superintendent James Shaw in 2001."

    Is "Friend of Education" code for friend of the union's strangle hold on badly needed education reform?