Evers picks assistant schools superintendent to replace him

MADISON — Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers announced Thursday that he will appoint current Assistant State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor to succeed him at the state Department of Public Instruction, making her Wisconsin's first schools superintendent who is black.

Evers has served as state superintendent since 2009. He'll have to give up the position when he's sworn in as governor on Jan. 7. The superintendent is an elected, officially nonpartisan constitutional officer, but when a vacancy occurs in the post the governor can appoint someone to serve out the remainder of the term. Stanford Taylor will have to stand for election in 2021.

"(Stanford Taylor) is known and respected throughout the education community for her commitment to equity and her work to help all students reach academic success," Evers said in a news release. "I have known Carolyn for the better part of three decades and know she will be an exceptional state superintendent."

Stanford Taylor currently oversees DPI's Special Education Team as well as its Student Services/Prevention and Wellness Team, which focuses on student safety, and residential schools for the blind in Janesville and the deaf in Delavan.

"I am blessed to be surrounded by the talented and devoted staff in the department, who care about the work they do to improve the lives of our state's youth," Stanford Taylor said in the news release. "I look forward to this opportunity, and know that together, we can continue to advance educational equity for all students."

Aides for Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald didn't immediately reply to emails late Thursday afternoon seeking comment on Stanford Taylor.

Evers appointed his first Cabinet members last week. His picks included Craig Thompson as transportation secretary; Preston Cole as Department of Natural Resources secretary; Rebecca Cameron Valcq as Public Service Commission chairwoman; Brad Pfaff as Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; and Kevin Carr as Department of Corrections secretary.

He's expected to announce more Cabinet appointments during a news conference Friday in Madison.