April 7, 2021

WEAC-Recommended Candidate Underly Wins State Superintendent Election

WEAC-recommended candidate Dr. Jill Underly is Wisconsin’s next State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

A Message from the WEAC President

Educator-members of the Wisconsin Education Association Council recommended Underly based on her decades-long perspective as a teacher and school leader in areas such as equity, funding and anti-racist schools. Her plan to recover from the pandemic addresses these areas and more. Underly’s top priorities as DPI State Superintendent include:

  • Early childhood education and universal 4K access;
  • Teacher recruitment and retention;
  • Mental health and health supports;
  • School funding formula revision; and
  • Facilities improvement; particularly infrastructure and HVAC in aging buildings.

“Dr. Underly has committed to working toward repairing or replacing the school funding formula so it is equitable to all students regardless of their ZIP code,” said WEAC President Ron Martin.

Dr. Underly, District Administrator of the Pecatonica Area School District, received about 58 percent of the vote. “Wisconsin’s kids and public schools face significant challenges as we work to get every student caught up and support their mental health and wellbeing in the aftermath of this pandemic and the enormous trauma and disruption that it’s caused for all of us,” Underly said.

“I want to thank WEAC members in the part you played to make that happen,” Martin said. “The state superintendent is an incredibly important elected position in our state government. It is someone we count on to implement policy to help us make public schools the best they can be.”

There were 69 public school referendums on the ballot in Tuesday’s election, as well. “In Wisconsin there’s something terribly wrong when our schools have to go referendum to raise money to pay for the things our students need,” Martin said, noting that their success was mixed. “In this situation, there are winners and losers, and there really shouldn’t be. All students deserve the same opportunities to succeed.”

In special elections for vacant state legislative seats, state Representative John Jagler (R-Watertown) won the 13th Senate District seat vacated by Congressman Scott Fitzgerald, who now represents Wisconsin in the U.S. Congress. Elijah Behnke (R-Oconto) was elected state representative in Assembly District 89, from which Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) resigned.

Judge Shelley Grogan won in Court of Appeals District 2 and Judge Greg Gill Jr. won in Court of Appeals District 3.