State Board names four finalists for Superintendent


Should the State Superintendent have classroom experience? Contact your State School Board member to express your opinion



Martell Menlove,
retired as State
in August

The Utah State Board of Education today named the following four finalists for State Superintendent of Schools to replace Superintendent Martell Menlove who recently retired:

  • John Barge, current Georgia state superintendent
  • Martin Bates, current Granite School District superintendent
  • Rich Crandall, former director of the Wyoming Department of Education
  • Brad Smith, current Ogden School District superintendent
(See more about the candidates in this Salt Lake Tribune article.) Final interviews will be held in a public meeting Oct. 9 at 3:30 p.m. Teachers are encouraged to attend.

The State Superintendent plays a critical role in establishing rules and carrying out laws and policies established by the Legislature and the Board of Education…rules and policies that directly impact teachers and students.

Some, including a few members of the State Board, have downplayed the role of education and teaching experience in this position. Of the four finalists, only Bates and Barge actually have relevant classroom experience.

In August, UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh sent a letter to members of the State Board encouraging them to select a candidate “who understands the complex intricacies of public education policy, knows what it is like in a classroom, and can garner the respect of those they will be directing.” The UEA called on the Board to seek a Superintendent who possesses the following minimum qualifications:
  • Relevant public school classroom experience including knowledge of public school curriculum, education policy, research and best practices
  • Relevant public school administrative experience, including knowledge of education finance, school budgets, human resources, employee contracts and education law
  • Advanced degree in education
  • Proven record of collaboration with multiple stakeholders
  • Ability to be the superintendent to superintendents
Please contact your State Board of Education member and urge them to select a State Superintendent with public school classroom experience. (To find which Board district you live in, go to this interactive map and click “State Board of Education”.)

The UEA and its members have engaged with the Utah State Board of Education on the process for selecting the next Utah State Superintendent of Instruction in many ways. Because of UEA work on this issue, the Utah State Board agreed to the following:

  • UEA participation in the semi-finalist interview process
  • Public release of the names of the finalists for State Superintendent
  • Interviews of the finalists will take place in an open meeting
“For too long, public education has been a political volleyball,” said Gallagher-Fishbaugh. “We must have an educator at the helm (as State Superintendent) guiding our work in creating a great public school for every child.”

For more information about the State Superintendent search:

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