Nichelle Nichols, a longtime advocate for equity in education, announced Monday that she would seek election to the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education.
Nichols will run for Seat 5, being vacated by ananda mirilli, who announced earlier Monday that she wouldn’t seek a second term.
“I am running for the Madison Metro School Board … because I am deeply committed to this community and our public school system,” she said in a statement. “I know that if elected, I will serve this community well by bringing a wealth of experiences and perspectives to the Board role. I am ready to represent the district in my fullest capacity.”
Nichols worked in the school district’s administration for six years as Executive Director of Equity, Partnerships and Engagement before moving on to join the National Equity Project as a system leader in residence. She has also served in academic roles at the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, Urban League of Greater Madison and Community Action Coalition For South Central Wisconsin. Nichols also had four children go through the Madison school district.
Nichols said she has a few priorities for the district, including addressing enrollment issues as well as support for staff, students and administration.
“There are pretty critical issues around declining enrollment, some of that resulting from the pandemic, but I think that’s always a real issue for the district is looking at enrollment,” she said in an interview Monday. “I know the staffing shortages as well as just kind of the state of our educators’ as well as students’ well-being seems to be kind of a constant theme. And we still have a relatively new superintendent, who’s been leading through a pandemic since he arrived.”
Nichols filed the paperwork to run on Monday, and already has one major endorsement from the incumbent she’s looking to replace.
“I’m very, very proud to be endorse Nichelle,” mirilli told Madison365 in an interview Monday. ‘I had a chance to work with her in the Madison school district. I think the perspective that she’s bringing as someone that is also a parent and also has the understanding of the district as a former senior staff that I think is key to address the challenges that we’re continuing to face and to support the implementation of strategies moving forward.”
“It’s an honor and it’s a privilege to have her support,” Nichols said. “Certainly my voice will be my own voice. It will be different than ananda’s, but I feel like we’re both people who care very deeply about schools being more equitable for learning and address some of the real issues that so many of our young people need. That part feels great that she’s supporting me running.”
If more than two candidates run for the seat, there will be a primary election in February with the top two candidates advancing to the general election on April 5.