Interim Superintendent Martin Bates is Here to “Steer the Ship”


Eliott Coda

Interim Superintendent Martin Bates explains SLCSD’s Weighted Pupil Unit.

Olivia Hufford, Senior Editor

After the resignation of former superintendent Dr. Timothy Gadson, the Salt Lake School Board has unanimously agreed to appoint Martin Bates, retired superintendent of Granite School District, as interim superintendent for the SLCSD.

Bates will serve as interim superintendent as the Board works to identify and hire a new superintendent. Bates likewise affirmed that he would remain in this capacity through June, at the longest.

Earlier this fall, Dr. Timothy Gadson resigned from his role within the Salt Lake City School District after assuming the position in July 2021, citing “personal reasons.”

Gadson’s resignation was the subject of controversy and involved allegations of racial discrimination from one board member Mohammed Baayd.

Despite his resignation, Gadson will remain in the capacity of consultant through June 30, 2023. Per SLCSD’s separation agreement with Dr. Gadson, he will be paid “56 hours of accrued unused personal leave in the amount of $7,231.00” and “160 hours of accrued unused vacation leave in the amount of $20,660.00.”

The SLCSD Board may also request consulting services of Dr. Gadson, but “shall not be obligated to request such services.” 

To conclude the consultant agreement, “regardless of the amount of consulting services actually provided, Dr. Gadson shall be paid the amount of $18,251.58 per month, on a monthly basis.”

Martin Bates, according to district spokesperson Yándary Chatwin, will receive a similar salary to Dr. Gadson totaling $18,333 per month.

Bates started his educational career as a mathematics teacher within the Provo School District.

“I was an administrator in the Granite School District and then I was at Hillside Intermediate for a couple years,” Bates said. “Then, I went back to Granite for another 26 years, and in July 2021 I retired.”

Bates wants students and families in the community to know that there is someone there to take the leadership role:

“I can provide some stability to the district office folks and people like yourselves, so you don’t have to be worried about someone steering the ship.”

As interim superintendent, Bates feels there is a deep and implicit responsibility to use money responsibly. He feels that the administration must work hard to provide the best educational opportunities in the most respectful way towards taxpayers.

“I feel a real deep responsibility to shepherd the taxpayer’s money. That money needs to be spent wisely. The best business practices make sure that money is not being squandered.” Bates adds that this money “came out of your pockets without me even asking for it.”

Notwithstanding his capacities as interim superintendent, Bates does not feel he has the proper connection to the SLCSD to make any major decisions during his employment.

While he will be visiting with district principals and looking out for issues that may preclude student opportunities, Bates stated that he “does not have the relationships or the capital to make any big changes.”

Bates emphasized that he feels strongly about this community and that he, as well as his eight children, have attended school in the area. He has received three degrees from Brigham Young University: a bachelor of science in special education, a doctorate in educational leadership and a law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School.

Ultimately, Bates said he will be planting seeds he will not see sprout. He will be offering advice and saying, “I wonder what would happen if you did it this way.”

Martin Bates has a specific view of public education’s role in society. Until the Salt Lake School Board appoints a new superintendent, it will be up to the future to see what this vision entails.

Public education exists so you can step off ready and prepared to participate,” Bates said.