Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins – Black Men in Educational Leadership

April 29, 2021

Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins, Superintendent Madison Metropolitan School District

Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins became the first African American superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) on July 10, 2020. Dr. Jenkins, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and former MMSD employee, had been serving as the superintendent of the Robbinsdale School District in New Hope, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis.

Dr. Jenkins served as superintendent of the Robbinsville School District for five years before accepting the call to become superintendent of the MMSD. Previously he served as Chief Academic Officer for the Atlanta Public School System and Superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools in Michigan. He has held leadership positions in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan, including as an MMSD Associate Principal for Madison Memorial High School and Principal with the Beloit Public School District.

Dr. Jenkins described how he and his siblings were one of just a handful of children being raised in Phenix City, AL by both their mother and father. The family of five boys and two girls began life in a predominantly low-income neighborhood before moving to a middle-class one, where expectations of Black and white students were vastly different. His parents encouraged Dr. Jenkins and his siblings, emphasizing that they could reach for the stars and catch one if they worked hard for it. Jenkins said he initially wanted to become a lawyer until he took a class where he said he discussed how with the power of an education you can change the world.