Pecatonica school superintendent Jill Underly had a convincing win against opponent Deb Kerr in the race for the state’s schools superintendent.

Underly says her “first order of business” is making sure kids are prepared for face-to-face learning back in the classrooms this fall.

She talked with Chris Roth on Action 2 News at 4:30 about school funding, the partisan campaign funding for this officially nonpartisan job, and the politics of education. Watch the full interview above.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Jill Underly rode support from the state teachers’ union and an overwhelming financial advantage to win election as Wisconsin superintendent of schools.

Underly defeated Republican-backed Deb Kerr in Tuesday’s election.

Underly is superintendent of the rural Pecatonica school district and formerly worked for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which she will now lead.

Kerr is the former superintendent of the Brown Deer school district in suburban Milwaukee.

The race was officially nonpartisan, but Democrats and their money lined up solidly behind Underly while Kerr found support from Republicans.

Underly takes over for Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who held the post since 2019.

The Wisconsin Superintendent race was the only statewide race on the ballot during the spring election.

The race was called for Underly when 59% of Wisconsin precincts had reported numbers for the race, with Underly leading Kerr. Underly had 57% of the vote, while Kerr had 43% of the vote at that time.

CLICK HERE to view updated election results from around the viewing area.

Late Tuesday night, Underly released the following statement regarding the election results:

“Today, the votes have been counted and Wisconsinites across the state have elected me to be our next State Superintendent of Public Instruction. I’m honored and humbled by the trust voters have placed in me today and I’m overcome with gratitude for the incredible support we’ve had throughout this journey. To the countless volunteers, our grassroots donors, and all of the leaders and organizations who endorsed me, Thank you. I cannot express how deeply grateful I am for the hard work and dedication you gave to me. I’m incredibly proud of the campaign we ran to champion our public schools, our students, and their families. I’m deeply grateful to educators and their professional organizations, especially WEAC, who believed in me early in this campaign. And to every Wisconsinite who cast their ballot to elect me, thank you for your trust in me and for your support. I won’t let you down. Wisconsin’s kids and public schools face significant challenges as we work to return to normal, get every student caught up, and support their mental health and wellbeing in the aftermath of this pandemic and the enormous trauma and disruption it’s caused for all of us. Overcoming these hurdles won’t be easy, but I know that if we work together, we can get it done and do what’s right for our kids. Here’s my promise to every family, student, and Wisconsinite young and old, regardless of who you voted for: I will always do what’s best for our kids. We have a long road ahead of us, but I’m ready to get to work on day one and build a stronger, more equitable public education system that provides every child, every day with the world-class public education system they deserve.”

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