The Verona Area School District is about to welcome its first African-American board member and it’s a name well-known in state media circles.
Derrell Connor, who hosts a Wednesday evening talk radio show on WIBA in Madison and a Sunday evening show on WTMJ in Milwaukee, will run unopposed for one of the “at large” seats on the Verona school board. Jeannie Porter is not seeking reelection for that seat.
Current board president Dennis Beres will also run unopposed for the “Portion Three” seat representing the city of Verona.
Connor, 45, is a benefits specialist at Hemb Insurance and has served on the Urban League of Greater Madison’s Board of Directors for nine years, including three years as chair. He also serves on the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Minority Business Advisory Council and is a 10-year volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County.
Connor grew up in Philadelphia, moved to the Bay Area and attended San Francisco State University. He moved to Wisconsin in 1991 and has three children in the Verona School District.
Connor has described himself as a political independent but has written columns criticizing Madison liberals for failing communities of color. He says he never had seriously considered seeking public office until recently.
“I felt that I could contribute to a city that's growing, but still pretty small in size, and do so without having to draw political lines in the sand,” he says in an email. “It also gives me an opportunity to listen to students and their families, as well as the teachers regarding the issues they face in making sure that all of our students succeed.”
The Verona Area School District has about 5,400 students in grades K-12, about 10 percent who have identified themselves as African-American, according to district spokeswoman Pertrona Latson.
There will be no primary election for the Verona School Board. The general election is April 1.