Gov.-elect Tony Evers, currently the state superintendent of public instruction, announced his intention to appoint current Assistant State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor as the next state superintendent following his oath of office Jan. 7.

"Carolyn is a dedicated, thoughtful leader, who puts the best interests of kids before all else," Evers said in a prepared statement. "She is known and respected throughout the education community for her commitment to equity and her work to help all students reach academic success. I have known Carolyn for the better part of three decades and know she will be an exceptional state superintendent."

Stanford Taylor is the first female, African-American appointed to serve as an assistant state superintendent. She will be Wisconsin's first African-American state superintendent of public instruction.

"It will be an honor to serve the students, teachers and families of Wisconsin as the next state superintendent," Stanford Taylor said. "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. I look forward to this opportunity, and know that together, we can continue to advance educational equity for all students."

The state superintendent of public instruction oversees Wisconsin's educational system and leads the Department of Public Instruction. The position is a nonpartisan, constitutional officer, responsible for providing guidance and oversight to the state's primary and secondary schools, licensing educators and administering funds.

When a vacancy occurs with the state superintendent, state law allows the governor to appoint a replacement to serve out the remainder of the term. The last such appointment took place when then State Superintendent Herbert Grover resigned, and former Gov. Tommy G. Thompson appointed Lee Dreyfus.