Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

State Superintendent Candidates Raise $200,000

Which candidates have raised the most and who are the top donors?

By - Jan 24th, 2021 04:13 pm
Cash. (CC0 Creative Commons).

Cash. (CC0 Creative Commons).

Seven candidates who want to be the state’s next top school chief in the upcoming spring elections collectively raised more than $200,000 last year.

The seven candidates will face off in the Feb. 16 primary. The top two finishers will vie for a four-year term as state school superintendent in the April 6 elections. The winner succeeds Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who is not running for election. Taylor was appointed state school superintendent in 2019 to fill out of the term of Tony Evers after he became governor.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the candidates and their 2020 fundraising:

Deborah Kerr, a retired Brown Deer School District superintendent, accepted $68,460 and had about $50,140 in her campaign account as of Dec. 31.

Sheila Briggs, an assistant state school superintendent, raised about $53,300 and had about $44,345 in her campaign coffers at year’s end.

Jill Underly, Pecatonica Area School District superintendent, raised about $38,330 and had about $20,525 in her campaign account as of Dec. 31.

Troy Gunderson, retired West Salem School District superintendent, raised $20,505 and had $13,240 in his campaign coffers on Dec. 31.

Shandowlyon Hendricks-Williams, director of Gov. Tony Evers’ Milwaukee office, raised about $18,320 and had about $7,840 in her campaign account at year’s end.

Joe Fenrick, a Fond du Lac High School science teacher, raised about $8,600 and had about $8,575 in his campaign account on Dec. 31.

Steve Krull, principal of the Garland Elementary School in Milwaukee, raised about $3,460 and had about $2,450 in his campaign account as of Dec. 31.

Here are the contributors who gave $1,000 or more to the candidates in 2020, according to a preliminary review of their campaign finance reports. The employers of these contributors were identified by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign because state law no longer requires candidates to identify the employers of their large donors:


Ted Kellner, of Mequon, retired founder of Fiduciary Management, and his wife, Mary, $5,000,

Gary and Janet Henseler, of Racine, owners of Accounting & Business Services, Inc., $5,000,

Michael Perrone, of Antioch, Ill., president of The Deli Source, and his wife, Karen, $5,000,

Cristal Bemont, of Redwood City, Calif., chief executive officer of Talend, about $1,900,

Patrick English, of Wauwatosa, chairman of Fiduciary Management, about $1,400,

Michael Kass, Brown Deer police chief, $1,000,

Kathy Wilson, an optometrist in Ringwood, Ill., $1,000,

The campaign committee of GOP State Sen. Alberta Darling, of River Hills, $1,000,

In addition to the contributions, Kerr loaned her campaign $21,000.


Lillian Lowery, of Yardley, Penn., $1,000,

Katie Rainey, of Madison, a Department of Public Instruction director, $1,000,

Pamela Arp, of DeForest, retired, $1,000,

James Dahlberg, of Madison, University of Wisconsin emeritus professor of biochemistry, $1,000,

Anupam Mishra, Hillsborough, Calif., a director at Aspire Public Schools, $1,000,

Bonnie Dykman, of Monona, retired Madison public school teacher, $1,000.

In addition to the contributions, Briggs made about $3,000 in in-kind contributions and loans to her campaign.


Jill Gaskell, of Blanchardville, a Pecatonica school board member, $1,200,

Charles Semko, of Munster, Ind., $1,000,

Jeff Semko, a Crown Point, Ind. attorney, $1,000,

Kaye Gilbertson, of Barneveld, owner of J&R Underground, $1,000.

In addition to the contributions, Underly made loans and in-kind contributions to her campaign totaling about $11,200.


Del Gunderson, of Colfax, a retired accountant, $5,000,

Jill Gunderson, of West Salem, a retired teacher, $4,000,

Trevor Gunderson, a St. Paul, Minn. attorney, $1,500,

Cheryl Gunderson, a Minneapolis, Minn. paralegal, $1,000,

William Hubbard, of Monroe, a retired teacher, $1,000.

In addition to the contributions, Troy Gunderson made $2,480 in in-kind contributions to his campaign.


Doris Reaves, of Milwaukee, retired, $1,000.

In addition to the contribution, Hendricks-Williams contributed $10,000 to her campaign.


Fenrick made loans and contributions to his campaign totaling about $7,600.


Pamela Gustafson, Milwaukee public school teacher, $1,000.

One thought on “Campaign Cash: State Superintendent Candidates Raise $200,000”

  1. Mingus says:

    From the list of contributions, it looks like Deb Kerr is the candidate of the Republican right wind donor network. If industry needs students with great test taking skills, she would be the one. If industry needs critical and creative thinkers, you would have to look elsewhere. She might also be the sleeper candidate for the school choice.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us