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amos roe

Amos Roe

For professional pianist Amos Roe, the decision to run for a seat on the Madison School Board came just two days before Wednesday's filing deadline.

"I'm running for Seat 5 because I believe this year's race is extremely important for the future direction of MMSD, certainly more so than any time since I've moved to Madison from Sauk County in 2012," Roe said in an email. "And it seems to me that Seat 5 is Ground Zero when it comes to this."

Seat 5's incumbent TJ Mertz, who was first elected in 2013. Mertz, an instructor at Edgewood College, was initially facing one challenger: Department of Public Instruction equity consultant Ananda Mirilli. With Roe's entrance into the race, however, the three candidates will square off in a primary election on Feb. 19 before the April 2 general election. 

"I offer a clear alternative to the other two candidates who are running for this seat," Roe said. 

Roe, much like Seat 4 candidate and former Dane County Supervisor David Blaska, is focusing his campaign on school discipline and safety issues. 

"My issues include eliminating identity politics from our schools which are victimizing children, empowering good teachers and school administrators, intelligently addressing discipline and safety issues in our schools and seriously addressing the concerns of taxpayers regarding excessive and unnecessary school spending," Roe said. "I am very interested in expanding real school choice in Madison."

Mirilli said when she announced her campaign last month that she is also focusing on school safety issues while also addressing racial disparities within the district.

"My life work has been about actively addressing violence in our schools while at the same time addressing racial disparities," Mirilli said on Dec. 5, 2018.

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When announcing his re-election campaign, Mertz said he plans to highlight his record during the campaign and talk about building trust and accountability in the Madison Metropolitan School District.

In additional to being a professional pianist, Roe said he has taught piano lessons to children between the ages of seven and 18-years-old for more than 30 years. 

"I have spent considerable time, probably 40 years, in thinking and reading about many aspects of education," Roe said. 

The three candidates for Seat 5 are part of a field of 10 candidates running for three seats on the seven-person School Board this year. Three candidates are running for Seat 3, and four candidates are vying for Seat 4. The incumbents for those seats, Dean Loumos and James Howard, are not running for re-election.

Education Reporter

Negassi Tesfamichael is the local education reporter at The Cap Times. He joined the paper in 2018. He previously worked as an intern at WISC-TV/ and at POLITICO.