Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools Announces Six New Directors

Sandy Whisler of Lake Mills becomes WAES Board President

See this announcement as a PDF here.

January 13, 2023

Six powerful champions of public education in Wisconsin have joined the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) Board of Directors at the start of the 2023 term. WAES is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which brings together administrators, academics, educators, parent advocates, and community leaders to fight for the public schools and policies Wisconsin kids deserve. It oversees and serves as the fiduciary agent of Wisconsin Public Education Network.

WAES Board President
Sandy Whisler

Also effective Jan. 1, 2023, Sandy Whisler, a retired teacher from Lake Mills, WI and President of the local-level Citizen Advocates for Public Education-Lake Mills, has become WAES Board President. Sandy is a longtime active partner of Wisconsin Public Education Network and a leader in public school advocacy. Outgoing President Dr. Julie Underwood, Dean Emerita of the UW-Madison School of Education, will remain on the WAES Board and serve as Treasurer. Vice President Jim Shaw and Secretary Jill Gaskell round out the Board’s executive team.

The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, the staff of Wisconsin Public Education Network, and public education champions around Wisconsin offer thanks to the four outgoing WAES Board members for their service: Chris Heller, Kim Kaukl, Matt Michalsen, and Corinda Rainey Moore.

Read more about the new WAES Board Members below:

Jennifer Black, Tomahawk

Jennifer Black,  a parent and public education advocate in Tomahawk, WI, founded Champions of Tomahawk School District to successfully support a school referendum campaign in 2022. Following that campaign, which saw record-breaking voter turnout, she was nominated and selected as the Wisconsin Public Education Network’s 2022 Changemaker of the Year.

Jeff Eide, Taylor

Jeff Eide is currently the WiRSA (Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance) Executive Director. Jeff has been in public education for 34 years — as a classroom teacher, gifted and talented coordinator, and a head football coach.  Administratively, Jeff served as a K-12 associate principal for three years, a middle school and high school principal for ten years, and a district administrator for eight years. 

Kevin Lawrence Henry, Jr., Madison

Dr. Kevin Lawrence Henry is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at UW-Madison. His research includes, among other topics, the impacts of charter schools and school choice policies, the role of Black leaders in building a more just educational structure, and the persistence of anti-Blackness in education. He has held popular presentations for Wisconsin Public Education Network partners on the impacts of independent charter schools in Wisconsin.

Pablo Muirhead, Shorewood

A laser focus on advocacy informs the many hats that Dr. Pablo Muirhead wears. In addition to his role as the Chair of the Associate of Arts & Science Programs at Milwaukee Area Technical College, he also served as the ACTFL Treasurer, was a member of his local school board and is on the board of JNCL-NCLIS (the advocacy group for world languages at a federal level).

Amy Traynor, Eau Claire

Amy Traynor has devoted 20+ years to public education: 17 years as a mathematics educator, three years as an instructional coach, and four years as a lead teacher for a public charter school. Amy is a National Board Certified Teacher of Mathematics, the 2013 WI Middle School Teacher of the Year, and a 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Finalist.

Anjalé (AJ) Welton, Madison

Dr. AJ Welton is the Rupple-Bascom Professor of Education and Chair of the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Department at UW-Madison. Her research and publications center around the role of educational leaders in understanding, addressing, perpetrating or dismantling racism. She is a renowned scholar on issues of equity in education and provides professional development and published work for school leaders to better understand the racial implications of their policies and practices.


About the author: Christian Phelps

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