The Department of Public Instruction is the state agency that advances public education and libraries in Wisconsin.
It is headed by the state superintendent of public instruction, a nonpartisan, constitutional officer elected every four years. State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly, the current officeholder, is 28th person to hold the post.
The agency was created in 1848, the year Wisconsin attained statehood when the state constitution provided for the establishment of local school districts and a free education for all children in the state. Wisconsin does not maintain an elected or appointed state school board. The state superintendent maintains a Cabinet of appointed executive directors and assistant state superintendents.