Wisconsin will have a new state superintendent of public instruction in 2021, as Carolyn Stanford Taylor announced Monday she will not run for election to her current position.
Stanford Taylor, the first black state superintendent in Wisconsin's history, was appointed last January after Tony Evers was inaugurated as governor after 10 years in the position.
"I am honored to have been appointed by Governor Evers to lead the Department of Public Instruction and will always be grateful to the governor for the trust he placed in naming me as his successor,” Stanford Taylor said in a press release. “I promised Governor Evers I would commit to completing the 2 1/2 years left in his term as state superintendent and to continue the work we had started together at the DPI, and I will maintain that commitment while I serve this office.”
She focused her first State of Education address last fall on equity, addressing the achievement gap and finding ways to recruit and keep teachers. In the press release Monday, Stanford Taylor reiterated the focus on equity and having students ready to move to college or into a career when they complete high school.
“Every child in this state deserves the chance, the opportunity, and the supports to become a success,” Stanford Taylor said. “This will only happen if we — educators, the governor, legislators, parents, and community members — work together to make sure every student has what they need to learn when they need it.”
Evers said in a statement he was "incredibly grateful" to Stanford Taylor "for her service to our kids and our state."
“As superintendent, she has been a dedicated and thoughtful leader committed to ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to succeed," he said. "The budget I signed made a down payment on the progress we need to make for our kids and our schools and I know that, as she completes her term, Carolyn will be an invaluable partner in helping to guide our next steps with an eye towards equity and inclusion.”
The announcement comes more than a year ahead of the spring 2021 election that will have the position on the ballot for a four-year term. The release states the timing is "so others interested in being the state’s chief education officer and leading the department will have sufficient time to organize their campaigns."
Stanford Taylor, a former assistant superintendent in the Department of Public Instruction and Madison School District teacher, will remain in the office until July 2021, when the newly elected superintendent takes over.