After a nationwide search, the Wisconsin Historical Society has hired Vaunce Ashby as the director of education.

As the director of education, Ashby will supervise elementary, secondary and adult education staff to align educational content and messaging across all the Society’s divisions; advise the new History Center teams about education services, and advise the leadership team on all business relating to schools and learning.

“Vaunce brings decades of relevant experience to the Society,” said Michael Edmonds, Wisconsin Historical Society director of programs and outreach. “We are excited to see how her leadership will help shape the future of the Society and continue to grow our mission across the state to reach new audiences.”

The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services.

“Growing up in Chicago, my dad and I went to museums every Sunday and by the time I was 14 I had visited every museum in Chicago,” said Ashby. “This helped me realize the importance of not only connecting kids to the history around them at a young age but also to engage them with history through their ancestors and neighborhoods. That’s what I hope to help the kids in Wisconsin do.”

Ashby was previously at the Department of Public Instruction. She co-authored an administrative rule that is used to determine which students in the state of Wisconsin qualify for special education services in the area of learning disabilities and more recently she co-led a statewide initiative on addressing disproportionality in special education. She has two graduate degrees in education and has worked as a teacher, elementary school principal, middle school assistant principal and parent/community relations coordinator for a large urban school district and a director of student services for a small rural school district, both in Wisconsin. She has both a professional and personal commitment to serving under-represented audiences.