Four School Board Seats Up for Election on April 4
As you know there are nine members on the Milwaukee Public Schools Board, eight represent geographic districts and one runs citywide. The four-year terms are staggered and this year there are four seats up for election on Tuesday, April 4. The citywide district race will be in two years along with the remaining four geographic districts. Currently Milwaukee Public Schools, MPS, has a superintendent, Darienne Driver, who has done an amazingly good job in a very difficult position, and we need to support her efforts. In doing so, it is important that we minimize the special interest divisive politics that has kept MPS from realizing its full potential.
Despite all of the criticism that we hear from certain quarters including those who want to privatize our public education, there are some amazingly good things occurring in our public schools. If you don’t believe us, set up an appointment and visit some of the schools. Because of the progress being made, the special interests and the dark money are more hidden this year in the MPS elections.
We are very strongly endorsing and supporting five candidates for the four elections—one dual endorsement—and we believe that these five candidates are working totally in the interests of improving MPS on behalf of the children and not agents for those who have private or special interest agendas. These elections are important because Milwaukee cannot move forward unless we have well-educated and trained citizens and educational opportunities that are as equal as possible for all of our students.
The Shepherd has sent out a questionnaire to all of the school board candidates. So we don’t need to go into detail on their backgrounds in this endorsement piece, you can learn more about the candidates by visiting shepherdexpress.com where all of their answers are posted.
District 4: Annie Woodward
For District 4, we strongly support Annie Woodward. She is a two-term incumbent board member who has a long history of solid community service and has shown over the past eight years that she is a fierce and effective advocate for quality public education. She is running to continue her work to insure that all students have a quality education and “not just the wealthy and well-connected.” Woodward has definitely earned our endorsement.
District 5: Larry Miller
For District 5, we enthusiastically support Larry Miller. Miller, a former MPS teacher for 17 years, who has been a strong supporter of Superintendent Driver’s agenda of improving student progress and achievement. Miller is running to support “Dr. Driver’s leadership on improving student achievement, educating the whole child, reforming high schools, increasing graduation rates and much more that will redefine the MPS experience.” Milwaukee students have shown good progress over the past couple of years and we want to see that continue and grow. His work on the school board over the past eight years has definitely earned him our endorsement.
District 6: Tony Baez
For District 6, we strongly support Tony Baez. Baez may be new to the MPS school board elections but definitely not new to the education world. Dr. Baez has spent his career in education teaching and/or working in various positions at UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and MPS including serving as vice president of academic affairs/provost at MATC. He has served both in the classroom and in numerous administrative positions. Dr. Baez is running for school board to improve public education for all children and especially Latino students. With his impressive history in the field of public education and his experience as both a teacher and administrator, we believe he would be a great addition to the school board.
District 7: Dual Endorsement: Joey Balistreri and Paula Phillips
In the District 7, we have two excellent young candidates, Joey Balistreri and Paula Phillips, so the voters can’t lose and MPS will be a big winner with either addition to their board. They are both highly qualified and both strong advocates for quality public education. They both have interesting life stories that would serve MPS well. Either choice will be a win.