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Gomez Schmidt won't run for reelection to Madison School Board – The Capital Times

Madison School Board member Christina Gomez Schmidt speaks during an April board meeting.

K-12 education reporter
K-12 education reporter
Madison School Board member Christina Gomez Schmidt speaks during an April board meeting.
Madison School Board member Christina Gomez Schmidt will not run for reelection to a second term.
Gomez Schmidt filed her notification of non-candidacy with the Madison City Clerk Tuesday morning, three days before the deadline to do so. In 2020, Gomez Schmidt won her first term in a three-way race.
The end of that campaign took place in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and she took her only oath of office in her driveway.
“This role is a tremendous responsibility and the decision to not run for a second term was difficult,” Gomez Schmidt wrote in a message to constituents Tuesday. “Until my last day in office, I’ll continue to dedicate my time to learn about issues, to listen to the community, and to work collaboratively with my fellow board members, our Superintendent, and administrators to move the work of our school district forward.”
The seat she is leaving, Seat 6, will have at least one candidate. Badri Lankella declared his candidacy, appearing on the City Clerk’s elections website Monday afternoon.
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.”
“At the same time the world is advancing in every field, we are cutting budgets, staff, and facilities for the development of our kids,” Lankella, a computer engineer, wrote. “This will only lead to a lack of competitive advantage in the near future.”
He 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.
There are two seats up for election to the board next spring, Gomez Schmidt’s and Nicki Vander Meulen’s. Vander Meulen announced last month she would seek reelection to a third term.
Candidates could begin circulating nomination papers on Dec. 1 and must file their signatures by Jan. 3, 2023. The election is Tuesday, April 4, with a primary on Feb. 21 if necessary.
In her message to constituents, Gomez Schmidt listed a series of district accomplishments in her three years on the board, including navigating the pandemic, adopting new K-5 reading curriculums, investing in the “science of reading” and seeing the community approve a record referendum.
“I am grateful that this experience has challenged me in how I think about achievement, disparities, privilege, and opportunity,” she wrote, coming one day after a vote on standalone honors classes. “My sincere hope is that we can collectively find ways to continue to have necessary and challenging discussions with respect for one another. Our children deserve to see us model how to collaborate and build consensus to solve complex problems.”
Thanking her supporters for the opportunity to serve in the role, Gomez Schmidt also looked forward, writing that the district “must decide what we expect from, and for, our public schools,” which face “significant” challenges.
Declining enrollment, disparities in achievement, staff recruitment and retention, needed investment in our aging facilities, and a clear, multi-year strategic plan are a few of these,” she wrote. “Yet we have a Governor dedicated to education, incredibly strong support for public schools in Madison and Fitchburg, and a developing vision for the future.
“I am optimistic that our school district together with our partners and communities can address the challenges ahead and build on the good work happening across the district.”
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