Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly are running in the nonpartisan election for Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction on April 6, 2021.
The candidates advanced as the top-two finishers from the February 16, 2021 primary. Kerr, a former school district superintendent, received 26.5% of the primary vote, and Underly, a current school district superintendent, received 27.3%. The primary saw the second-highest turnout for a Wisconsin State Superintendent race in the past 20 years.
Though the race is officially nonpartisan, both candidates are affiliated with the Democratic Party. As of March 18, Underly has been endorsed by two former Wisconsin state superintendents, four Democratic members of Congress, and 25 Democratic members of the Wisconsin State Legislature. Leading up to the primary, Kerr said she was a “pragmatic Democrat.” She has received endorsements from several local school board members and state Senator Alberta Darling (R). Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), who served as superintendent from 2009 to 2019, has not endorsed either Underly or Kerr.
Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, whom Evers appointed as his successor, announced on January 13, 2020, that she would not seek re-election. The decision marked the first time in 20 years that an incumbent declined to enter the race.