Minneapolis Public Schools board to select preferred superintendent candidate

Pictured MPS superintendent candidates Dr. Sonia Stewart (left) and Dr. Lisa Sayles-Adams (right). (Photo courtesy of MPS)  (Supplied)

The Minneapolis Public School (MPS) board is expected to pick its new superintendent for the district on Friday evening.

In early November, the school board announced it had created a task force, comprised of 17 members, to help interview superintendent applicants to take over for Rochelle Cox, who has been the interim superintendent since Ed Graff left the role in June 2022.

The board interviewed two finalists earlier this week, Dr. Sonia Stewart and Dr. Lisa Sayles-Adams, and will meet on Friday at 4 p.m. to select their preferred candidate. 

Here’s a look at the candidates. 

Dr. Sonia Stewart 

Dr. Sonia Stewart has over a decade of experience working in Tennessee public schools and is the current deputy superintendent for Hamilton County Public Schools in Chattanooga, which is comprised of 44,000 students. 

Dr. Stewart said if she were to become MPS superintendent, she would "boldly pursue a strategic vision that fosters the growth and success of all children regardless of their background, zip code, and personal needs," according to her bio

Stewart earned her doctorate of education in education, leadership, and policy from Vanderbilt University and has a master's degree in education from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville. 

Dr. Lisa Sayles-Adams 

Dr. Lisa Sayles-Adams has a long history of educational leadership in Minnesota, with over two decades of experience. Sayles-Adams worked for MPS from 1996 to 2004 in various roles, such as a teacher and coordinator, before becoming principal at the City Alternative High School.

She also has experience with St. Paul Public School District, where she worked as a principal and later as the assistant superintendent until 2019, when she then accepted the same position in Carver County. She became superintendent for eastern Carver County schools in 2020, overseeing 9,600 students. 

Dr. Sayles-Adams earned her educational doctorate in educational leadership from Minnesota State University in Mankato and a masters in curriculum and instruction from the University of Minnesota, according to her bio

The MPS board has not said when the new superintendent will start.