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The Robbinsdale school board will begin the process of looking for a new superintendent after its leader announced Friday he is leaving for a similar job in Wisconsin.

Carlton Jenkins will become the superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) where he once served as an associate principal. His last day in Robbinsdale will be Aug. 3.

Jenkins has led the 12,500-student district covering seven northwest metro suburbs for the past five years. He was credited with increasing graduation rates in Robbins­dale. But he came under criticism last year when he reassigned popular Armstrong High School Principal David Dahl to a new position to deal with disparities in student discipline.

"We are thankful for Dr. Jenkins' leadership over the past five years at Robbinsdale Area Schools," school board Chairman David Boone said in a news release. Under Jenkins' leadership, "our district became stronger in our pursuit of equity through our Unified District Vision and is preparing greater numbers of students for success in college, careers and the articulated skilled trades."

Madison is Wisconsin's second largest school system with 26,000 students, according to the MMSD.

Jenkins started his administrative career as an associate principal at Madison Memorial High School. Before arriving in Robbinsdale, Jenkins was an associate principal and principal in the Beloit, Wis., school district, chief academic officer in Atlanta and a superintendent in Saginaw, Mich.

"I am honored and humbled to be selected as the new superintendent of the Madison Public School System, and I am excited to be returning home to Madison and the MMSD family," Jenkins said in a statement.

Jenkins starts in Madison Aug. 4, the MMSD said.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768