NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A New Haven Board of Education member said the board has decided on a new superintendent. While most members are waiting for Wednesday’s official announcement to say anything, Darnell Goldson told News 8 that Dr. Madeline Negron would be the next superintendent of New Haven Public Schools.

“I think we ended up with a great candidate,” Goldson said.

Negron worked in Windham and New Haven before joining Hartford schools.

“Her experience in the system, her experience outside the system,” Goldson said. “Her experience in a small district, her experience in a big, urban district like ours, I think put her over the top.”

The last time New Haven went out to find a new superintendent was in 2017. There were very public meetings, but that process split public opinion and the board. They chose Dr. Carol Birks. She lasted less than two years before the board terminated her contract and promoted assistant superintendent Dr. Iline Tracy.

Negron had been New Haven’s director of instruction but fled to Hartford under Birks, where she is now acting deputy superintendent. She was one of three finalists for the New Haven superintendent this time around, but this time meetings with stakeholders were kept private.

Critics seized on that lack of transparency as proof that the process was rigged and Negron was the chosen candidate. Goldson says that is not true.

“I can tell you we had two five-hour meetings back-to-back over a couple of days trying to decide who would be the final candidate out of the three,” Goldson said. “She was not a shoo-in. Absolutely not.”

Mayor Justin Elicker (D-New Haven) released a statement saying the superintendent search “spanned several months, considered many well-qualified candidates, and included input from students, parents, teachers, administrators, support staff, and other community members.”  

In Hartford, Negron was helping the district recruit bilingual teachers for the growing Hispanic student population. New Haven schools will soon be majority Hispanic, and Negron will be the first Hispanic superintendent in the city’s history.

The board of education scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday night to make the announcement official.

The video below aired in our 12 p.m. newscast on April 19, 2023.