We are working to ensure our school district has a leadership team in place with the experience and skills necessary to move MMSD forward toward reaching our Strategic Framework goals. I am very excited to both introduce and welcome these experienced leaders to their new roles.
In addition, I would also like to announce the formation of our new Office of School Safety. This new district office will focus on balancing the physical safety of our students, staff, and school buildings with providing important social, emotional, and psychological well-being. This office will instill the foundational practices of safe and welcoming schools, while utilizing mental health and trauma-informed interventions, and responding to incidents at schools, and in the community, with care and support.
Gina Aguglia - Director of Cross Systems and Critical Response, Office of School Safety
Ms. Gina Aguglia will be working in the newly formed Office of School Safety, and has experience serving diverse youth and families in schools, mental health programs, clinical crisis intervention and emergency services, intensive in-home therapy, county agencies and private practice. Recently, Gina served as the district’s Coordinator of Critical Response, managing a federal grant to implement school critical response teams for MMSD. Previously, Ms. Aguglia served as Lead Social Worker for four years and as a school social worker mentor. Gina has earned the following educational credentials: Bachelor's degree from UW-Madison; Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver; and Director of Student Services and Special Education certification from St. Mary’s University.
Tracey Caradine - Interim Chief of Human Resources
Ms. Tracey Caradine joined MMSD in June as Director of Employment Relations. Tracey has more than 15 years of human resources experience, including previous service with the School District of Beloit and Sun Prairie Area School District. Ms. Caradine also has extensive professional experience in state government. Tracey has earned the following educational credentials: Bachelor's degree in history from UW-Madison; Master’s of Business Administration degree from Cardinal Stritch University; and several professional certifications in Human Resources. Ms. Caradine possesses strong skills in organizational development, change management, and strategic recruitment design.
Dr. Leia Esser - Interim Executive Director, Office of Staff and Student Supports
Dr. Leia Esser is beginning her 11th year in MMSD. Leia has served as the principal of Spring Harbor Middle School and the Director of Student Physical, Mental, and Behavioral Health. Most recently, Dr. Esser worked as the Director of Student Services Operations and Accountability, a role focused on school safety and supporting resolution of parent/guardian concerns. Prior to MMSD, Dr. Esser worked for the School District of Beloit and Sun Prairie Area School District. Leia holds a bachelor's degree in cross-categorical special education from UW-Madison, a master's degree in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Edgewood College. Dr. Esser is persistently focused on ensuring every school is a place where children, staff, and families thrive.
Deirdre Hargrove-Krieghoff - Senior Executive of Work-Force Strategy, Development and Operational Efficiency
Ms. Deirdre Hargrove-Krieghoff has led MMSD’s human resources team for the past seven years and brings a breadth of workforce and organizational development experience. Under Deirdre’s tenure, the district realized an increase in staff of color and equity-focused policy updates, as well as department process improvements including teacher screening and selection redesign and HR business partner model. Prior to MMSD, Ms. Hargrove-Krieghoff worked for the Urban League of Greater Madison and St. Mary’s Hospital. Deirdre earned an MBA from UW-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in Management and Communications from Concordia University. Ms. Hargrove-Kreighoff’s unique skill set will allow the MMSD Operations departments to streamline inefficient processes to improve staff capacity while imparting industry “best in class” training and coaching. Ms. Hargrove-Krieghoff will utilize continuous assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of current operations strategies in order to develop a plan of excellence for the department.
Dr. Nancy Molfenter - Interim Director of Special Education
Dr. Nancy Molfenter has been named the Interim Executive Director of Student Services. Nancy has served as an Assistant Director of Student Services at MMSD for the past three years supporting primarily high school and transition services for students with an IEP. Prior to working for MMSD, Nancy was on the Special Education Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and worked for the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Dr. Molfenter holds a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Sedric Morris, Sr. - Director of Safety and Security, Office of School Safety
Sedric Morris, Sr., will be working within the newly formed Office of School Safety, and is a proud alumni of MMSD and graduate of West High School. Raised on Madison’s southside, Mr. Morris brings more than 15 years of knowledge and experience in serving and working with children, youth, families, and community partners in the human services, criminal justice, and education fields. Most recently, Sedric has worked with youth and young adults in the Dane County Human Services – Neighborhood Intervention Program for the past five years. Mr. Morris earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice, with a concentration in community and correctional rehabilitation.
Nichele Smith - Director of Food and Nutrition Service
Ms. Smith has worked with various Cost Operations food service vendors, as well as Chicago Public Schools, Archdiocese of Chicago, and Gary Schools. Nichele has a passion for feeding children, making sure students receive the best meals offered under the National School Lunch Program. Ms. Smith emphasizes diversifying school menus by working with (state approved) chefs to enrich and create flavor profiles, food quality, and meal presentation. Ms. Smith believes every student should have great tasting, nutritious meals along with an exemplary dining and customer service experience.
We ask you to join us in welcoming these experienced leaders to their new roles. We look forward to their leadership in continuing the great work of MMSD.