4 Things to Know About Superintendent Candidate Demond Means


Credit Clarke County School District

The last of the three Superintendent candidates, Dr. Demond Means, toured Wauwatosa schools and participated in multiple forums on April 22, 2021. Means participated in a staff luncheon at Wauwatosa West to answer questions from district staff. Means later answered student questions during a forum at Wauwatosa East with students attending from East, West, Longfellow, and Whitman in person and over Zoom. Means also participated in a community forum and a final closed session school board interview in the evening. 


Means currently serves with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as the Director for Continuous Improvement and Family Engagement. Means started in education as a social studies teacher and has leadership experience in Maple Dale, Nicolet, and Wauwatosa districts across varying grade levels and positions. In Wauwatosa, Means served as the Director of Human Resources. Means also served as Superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville School District for 9 years before serving as the Clarke County School District Superintendent (CCSD) in Athens, Georgia for 2 years before resigning.

“The relationship with the board in Clark County was misaligned in terms of what we felt were the roles and responsibilities of what superintendents and school boards should do,” Means said.

During a luncheon with staff, Means said the CCSD developed an “aggressive approach of addressing educational equity,” including eliminating pull-out programming at one elementary school. 

“We didn’t have pull-out for special ed and gifted and talented anymore, but we literally had teachers co-teaching together,” Means said. “Eventually that type of innovation and equity work led to a lot of community angst and controversy and eventually it was best for me to transition and come back to Wisconsin.” This included a legal battle and settlement. 

Means earned his Ed.D. and Master’s Degree from Cardinal Stritch University and completed his undergraduate studies at Concordia University.


Means thinks multiple challenges faced by the district relate to equity. He believes the district needs to have a “deeper conversation around, what I like to call, the racial climate gap where you look at the number of suspensions and detentions and discipline is skewed towards kids of color.” 

Means thinks students need to play an important role in conversations and working towards equity, including through town hall style meetings with student groups and continuing the Superintendent Student Advisory Panel. “The equity work has to be something that students own as well,” Means said. 

Means also believes it is important to advocate for all groups that have been marginalized. 

“We’re so focused on the racial inequities that are happening, that we forget about the other groups that have been marginalized, and making sure that they are part of the advocacy.” 

First Steps as Superintendent

If hired, Dr. Means says he does not plan to make any immediate changes, but rather to take the time to learn and understand the district. He speaks from experience while calling immediate changes a “recipe for disaster”, and “dangerous, actually.” 

Mean’s first steps will be to “learn from people I want to get feedback from, from different stakeholder groups including the students, especially the students because at the core, this is why I’m here.”

When making decisions within the district, Means says it’s important to have authentic engagement among staff members. “I think there’s a difference between saying or telling someone ‘this is what we plan to do’ versus ‘this is what we’re thinking of doing’ and provide feedback.”

A Unique Perspective

Dr. Means believes he can bring a well rounded perspective to the Wauwatosa School District. He reflects on his experience in both teaching and administrative roles, saying, “I’ve been exposed to all elements of the school system and how to run a school system, and it’s really – I don’t like to use the term run a school system. I think I know every aspect of it and I can facilitate and lead those elements of what it takes to lead a school district well.”

 Means also noted the uniqueness of a school district with two high schools, and referred to his experience in CCSD, which also had two. He stresses the importance of ensuring both schools have their own identity to match the needs and interests of their students, while rejecting the idea of the two schools being “cookie cutter” copies of each other. 


Watch a recording of the community forum with Superintendent finalist Dr. Demond Means below.