Jill Underly, superintendent of the Pecatonica School District, is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Jill Underly, superintendent of the Pecatonica School District, is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. (Photo provided)

Underly is superintendent of rural Pecatonica Area School District with 20 years of experience ranging from teacher to positions with UW-Madison, DPI

Jill Underly, superintendent of the Pecatonica Area School District, is the first to announce she is running for the state superintendent of public instruction. 

With a campaign slogan of “Every Child Every Day,” Underly said she believes every child deserves a high-quality, early childhood experience. 

“Every child deserves a great education,” Underly told UpNorthNews. “I will bring a wealth and depth of experience to the position. I am in a school every day and I have kids in school.”

The position is currently held by Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who announced earlier this year she would not be running for reelection. Taylor was appointed to the position in January 2019, after Tony Evers was elected governor, leaving the post unfilled due to his election. 

Underly has over 20 years experience as a teacher and administrator in public school systems. 

She has worked as a high school and middle school social studies teacher, a University of Wisconsin College of Letters & Science academic advisor, a Title I consultant and assistant manager at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, an elementary principal and director of instruction, and for the past six years as the superintendent for the rural Pecatonica School District in Blanchardville.

She said issues facing urban and rural districts are “not as far apart” as many think.

“Every district has funding issues. Our state funding formula transfers across all districts, no matter their size,” Underly said. “Equity is an issue across the board. When you think about poverty and technological inequalities … they exist in districts of all sizes. I want to solve those problems.”

The primary for the non-partisan race is in February 2021. The election is in April 2021.