Milwaukee’s public radio, WUWM 89.7-FM, recently profiled UW-Madison alumna Carolyn Stanford Taylor.
Stanford Taylor earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education in 1978 and a master’s from the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in 1979.
Among many achievements in Stanford Taylor’s career, she is the first black woman to lead Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction. Appointed by Gov. Tony Evers, a fellow UW-Madison alum, in 2019, she previously served as the assistant state superintendent.
But being “first” was never at the front of her mind, Stanford Taylor explains. “I’m passionate about the next generation and how we usher them to success,” she tells WUWM. “And so, if I can be a model of success for any student that might be struggling, then that’s a bonus.”
Stanford Taylor’s family was also one of the first to integrate schools in Marks, Mississippi, a segregated city. She cites the struggles that she and other students of color faced after integration as what influenced her to choose a path in education.
“Having had that experience and knowing that many of the students who didn’t graduate were just as bright as I was, but because of that lack of support and advocacy, they did not get to become all they could be. Then that made me even more passionate about this work around education, and how education should be the great equalizer,” Stanford Taylor tells WUWM.
Check out the full WUWM report here.