Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

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The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction oversees public K-12 education and public libraries in Wisconsin. The department was created in 1848 as Wisconsin became a state. Article X, Section 1 of the Wisconsin State Constitution created the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction to manage public education.[1] The department provided funding for 2,211 schools and 871,551 K-12 students during the 2012-2013 school year.[2][3]


The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction possessed limited powers through its first century of existence. In 1849, the Superintendent of Public Instruction was tasked with school inspections, curriculum recommendations and distribution of revenues from public land sales. Authority over teacher licensing, curriculum development and assessment fell to county superintendents into the early 20th century. The Wisconsin State Legislature authorized the department to license state teachers in 1939. The department gained authority over special education in 1947 and high school graduation requirements in 1983.[4]



The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction published a statement of agency responsibility in the 2013-2014 Wisconsin Blue Book:[4]

The Department of Public Instruction provides direction and technical assistance for public elementary and secondary education in Wisconsin. The department offers a broad range of programs and professional services to local school administrators and staff. It distributes state school aids and administers federal aids to supplement local tax resources, improves curriculum and school operations, ensures education for children with disabilities, offers professional guidance and counseling, and develops school and public library resources.[5]


The current Superintendent of Public Instruction is Tony Evers. The following list details his cabinet officials:[4]

  • Deputy State Superintendent: Mike Thompson
  • Executive Assistant: Jessica Justman
  • Special Assistant: Scott Jones
  • Chief Legal Counsel: Janet Jenkins
  • Director of Education Information Services: John Johnson
  • Legislative Liaison: Jennifer Kammerud

Departmental divisions

The following list details assistant superintendents by department:[4]

  • Division of Academic Excellence: Sheila Briggs
  • Division of Finance and Management: Brian Pahnke
  • Division of Learning Support: Carolyn Stanford Taylor
  • Division of Libraries and Technology: Kurt Kiefer
  • Division of Student and School Success: Lynette Russell

Organizational chart

The following chart outlines the organizational structure of the Wisconsin Department of Education:[4]

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction org chart.jpg

Recent news

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See also

External links

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