Statewide contest only race on Tuesday’s ballot
With no local spring elections requiring a primary, the only race on the ballot in Tuesday’s primary election is for the non-partisan State Superintendent of Public Schools.
That seven-way contest will narrow the field of candidates to the two highest vote getters, who will face off in the April 6 general election. Gov. Tony Evers was the last elected state superintendent and appointed Carolyn Stanford Taylor to the position after he was elected governor two years ago. Taylor has chosen not to run for a full four-year term.
The state superintendent heads the Department of Public Instruction. The superintendent’s responsibilities are limited and he or she is responsible for implementing education policy passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Evers. The superintendent also oversees the voucher and student choice programs among others.
The candidates on Tuesday’s ballot include Sheila Briggs, Joe Fenrick, Troy Gunderson, Shandowlyon Hendricks-Williams, Deborah Kerr, Steve Krull, and Jill Underly.
Briggs has been assistant state superintendent since February 2011. Before that she worked for 15 years in the Madison Metropolitan School District as an elementary school teacher, principal, lead principal and director of state and federal programs.
Fenrick is a Fond du Lac High School science teacher and lecturer on geology at UW-Oshkosh. He is in his third term as a Fond du Lac County Board supervisor and is chairman of its Social Services and Human Services committees.
Gunderson retired as superintendent of the West Salem School district after 12 years in that position. He was a high school teacher for seven years and a principal for 16 years. He is currently adjunct professor at Viterbo University in La Crosse.
Hendricks-Williams has over 25 years of educational experience, including at the DPI. He was as an administrator and special education teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools and director in Gov. Evers’ Milwaukee office until November 2020
Kerr was superintendent of Brown Deer Schools for 13 years until leaving in June 2020. She worked in a variety of educational roles. She is a former president of both the national School Superintendents Association and Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators
Krull has worked for 12 years in Milwaukee Public Schools as a principal, assistant principal and teacher.
Underly has been superintendent of the Pecatonica Area School District since 2015. She is a former elementary school principal and high school teacher and worked at DPI for five years
For more information on the candidates visit their websites or check out Wisconsin Public Education Network, Wisconsin PTA and Association for Equity in Funding forums at wiseye.org.
You also can check out Q&As from Madison Teachers Inc. at madisonteachers.org; The League of Women Voters at vote411.org; and the Wisconsin Public Education Network at wisconsinnetwork.org.