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Sugar House Journal

Salt Lake City School District officially swears in new superintendent

Aug 16, 2021 10h23 ● By Lizzie Walie

Timothy Gadson III is Salt Lake City School District’s new superintendent. (Photo courtesy of Salt Lake City School District)

By Lizzie Walje | [email protected]

On July 1, Timothy Gadson III was officially sworn in as Salt Lake City School District’s new superintendent. Gadson comes to Salt Lake City by way of Minnesota, where he most recently served as associate superintendent for Anoka-Hennepin Schools, in a suburb of Minneapolis. 

The search for superintendent reached a fever pitch back in February of this year after the Salt Lake Board of Education narrowed down their search to three finalists. However, it was Gadson who was offered a two-year contract that same month after a unanimous vote by the board. The other two finalists, Jharrett Bryantt and Wendy González, were from Texas and Virginia, respectively. In total, Gadson bested 33 other candidates in the process. 

In previous addresses to the media, Gadson made it clear that mental health in the district will be one of his top priorities as superintendent. He wants to help foster a more trauma-informed staff of educators, in turn, giving teachers the knowledge to recognize the potential signs of trauma in their students. Gadson finds this particularly pertinent, as students deal with the emotional fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Gadson received his undergraduate degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University before acquiring his Ph.D. from Washington State University. He has also served as the principal of elementary, middle, and high school institutions. 

Following his appointment back in February, Gadson told the press via a Zoom call that he was on “cloud nine.” With various members of the board, including the president, Melissa Ford, offering their congratulations. His July 1 appointment received more of the same, with many speaking of their excitement moving forward. 

Gadson has spoken previously about his draw to Salt Lake City. After assessing the unique issues of the district, he felt he was the right person for the position. Of particular note is Gadson’s reflection of the district’s demographics. Gadson, a Black man, will work on a board that is majority nonwhite, with a district of students who are also a majority nonwhite.

Although Gadson’s contract initially reflects a two-year period, he hopes to prolong his work in Salt Lake City. He said that each of his previous jobs gave him experience that will make him a better superintendent for the district.