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At least one contested race for Madison School Board – The Capital Times

The 2023 spring election is April 4.

K-12 education reporter
K-12 education reporter
The 2023 spring election is April 4.
The April ballot will have at least one contested race for Madison School Board.
Former Madison Metropolitan School District teacher Blair Mosner Feltham announced her candidacy for Seat 6 Wednesday, one day after board member Christina Gomez Schmidt said she would not run for reelection.
Mosner Feltham, who is now the Equitable Multi-level System of Supports Coordinator in the Sun Prairie Area School District, joins former City Council candidate Badri Lankella as declared candidates for the seat. Seat 7 incumbent Nicki Vander Meulen is the only current declared candidate for her seat, which is also on the ballot next spring.
Candidates must file their nomination papers with signatures by Jan. 3, 2023. The election is April 4, with a primary on Feb. 21 if necessary. For School Board seats, a primary would be required if there are three or more candidates for any individual seat.
In her announcement on Facebook, Mosner Feltham pointed to her eight years of experience in MMSD, including a few months as a special education assistant at Elvehjem Elementary School and seven years as a teacher, coordinator and coach at West High School.
“What I’m trying to say is I know something about how schools actually work, I know something about how MMSD actually works — and not in a theoretical way,” she wrote. “Applied, classroom and building-level understanding of school is so important for making good decisions, and it’s something the BOE has lacked and MMSD leadership has refused to respect.”
She wrote that “happier, healthier schools” can be achieved through class size limits, protected planning time, creative curriculum and collaborative processes that value student and staff voice. She believes “teaching and learning is complex, uncertain, intellectual and interpersonal work.”
“It’s juicy, life-giving, and cannot be mechanized. And don’t get me wrong — I love data, love a spreadsheet, love a thinking routine, love a continuous improvement process,” she wrote. “But I am appalled by the ease with which MMSD has been willing to capitulate to the worst instincts of data mining, capitalistic efficiency, standardization, and false ‘accountability.’”
Lankella previously ran for City Council in 2019, losing to Donna Moreland in the District 7 race. In a Cap Times Q&A at that time, Lankella brought up two school-related issues among those he believed were the biggest facing Madison and his aldermanic district.
Bus stop safety for kids was “becoming increasingly concerning in our district,” he wrote at the time.
“Getting to and from the school bus stop is becoming more dangerous to our kids these days with speeding vehicles and earlier school hours,” Lankella wrote, recommending installing a pedestrian call button and flashing crosswalk signals to improve safety.
He also mentioned the importance of “building a competitive school system from elementary school level.”
Lankella, a computer engineer, suggested enhancing advanced learning programs such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, and cited his experience working with a local elementary school as a coach in various STEM programs and getting involved with other school groups.
“Working with these organizations and creating more competitive, coherent and creative programs will help enhance our kids’ competitiveness beyond our school, city, state and nation,” he wrote.
In the 2022 spring election, which featured three School Board seats, there was one contested race and a second with a write-in campaign launched after the deadline to get a name on the ballot. In 2021, both seats up for election featured a single candidate.
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