After as many as six possible candidates in the upcoming non-partisan election for Wisconsin’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), there will be a three candidate primary election on Tuesday, February 21st, to determine the two candidates for the April election. With the change in national leadership in Washington, D.C. it is critical that Wisconsin voters pick the right person to be our state’s educational leader for the next four years.
Betsy DeVos, the selectee for Secretary of the US Department of Education, is certainly not the typical educator picked for this position. Typically, the Secretary of Education was a large city or state superintendent of education that had previous experience as a teacher or principal. Betsy DeVos is a wealthy educational activist that has partisan political experience at the organizational level, lots of civic involvement, but never actually been “an educator”.
Wisconsin’s next SSPI needs to react to the changes forthcoming from the federal government, protect Wisconsin’s rights as a state to educate our own children, and have a passion for educating all the children of Wisconsin, not just those in the traditional public school classrooms. The next SSPI needs the education and experience to accomplish these goals.
Dr. Tony Evers, the incumbent for the past eight years, is one of the candidates. He once taught and was a principal in nearby Tomah; but hasn’t been close to the classroom in twenty-five years. From 1992 until 2001 he was at the CESA in Oshkosh, followed by four years as the Deputy at the Department of Public Instruction, and the last eight as SSPI. Dr. Evers brought “Common Core” to Wisconsin. If you like “business as usual”, then consider Dr. Evers.
John Humphries, an administrator from Dodgeville, is challenging Dr. Evers. He does not have a doctorate degree and has never been a superintendent. From 2004 until 2011 he was an administrator at the state Department of Public Instruction. As SSPI, he would be a fresh face but could be considered “Evers lite” -- they both signed the recall petition for Governor Walker.
Dr. Lowell Holtz is the third and perhaps the best candidate given his more than twelve years of experience as a District Superintendent in rural, suburban, and urban settings. He was once recognized as “National Distinguished Principal” by the US Department of Education. He has had experience in a variety of educational settings and will be able to handle the changing paradigms to lead the education all the children in Wisconsin for the twenty-first century.