Dr. Joe Gothard has been superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) since July 1, 2017. He is the educational leader of the school district, which serves approximately 33,000 PreK-12 students and employs over 6,000 staff. SPPS is the second-largest and most diverse school district in Minnesota, with students who speak more than 100 languages and 70% of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
Gothard launched the SPPS Achieves strategic plan in December 2018 to set aspirational and attainable goals for student achievement, guide decision-making, and focus the district’s efforts on long-term student outcomes. Since March 2020, he has led the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring decisions meet the needs of students and families, prioritize community well-being, champion equity, and are fiscally sustainable.
In November 2022, the Board of Education unanimously approved a new three-year contract for Dr. Gothard, effective July 2023-June 2026.
- Superintendent of Schools, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, Burnsville, Minn.
- Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools, Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison, Wis.
- High School Principal, Robert M. La Follette High School, Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison, Wis.
- Middle School Principal, Akira R. Toki Middle School, Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison, Wis.
Recent Awards & Accolades:
- 2024 National Superintendent of the Year, AASA
- 2024 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year, MASA
- 2023 Laureate, Junior Achievement North Hall of Fame
- 2022 Green Garner Award Finalist, Council of the Great City Schools
- 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award, Edgewood College
Gothard believes in the power of public education to foster relationships, build community, and inspire students to achieve beyond their highest expectations. He is the current President of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and sits on the Advisory Board for the International Center for Leadership in Education. In 2021, he was named to a two-year term on the Executive Committee of the Council of Great City Schools, which comprises leaders from the 77 largest urban public school districts in the United States. He is also a member of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, co-chair of the Generation Next Executive Committee and sits on the Board of Directors for Genesys Works Twin Cities.
Gothard received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate in education from Edgewood College in Madison, Wis., and sits on the college's Board of Trustees. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, Mary. They have three grown children.