After months of suspense, the results of the midterm elections — arguably some of the most important the nation has seen in years — are in. The stakes are high, with voters weighing in on issues like healthcare, immigration and President Donald Trump's controversial tenure. Among the top issues this election cycle is education, and this year, educators took matters into their own hands by running for public office.
A September analysis by the National Education Association (NEA) said 554 educators were on the ballot this fall. But a month later, this already unprecedented number more than doubled, reaching nearly 1,800 current and former educators running for state legislative seats — which is said to be a new record for a single election cycle.
These educators launched campaigns to be governors, members of U.S. Congress, state legislative seat holders and local representatives, but not all of them took home the prize. Below is a list of some of the winners:
Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s next governor, had his first job teaching science, and since then, he’s continued to work in education. He's served as a school principal, has run multiple school districts and is currently the state’s superintendent of public instruction. Evers unseated Gov. Scott Walker, who has been in office since 2011, and says he will push for more funding for early-childhood education and child care, more investment in public schools, and bringing back "respect and professionalism towards all our hardworking educators," according to his campaign website.
Tim Walz, who won Minnesota’s gubernatorial election, is a 20-year classroom high school teacher. He has served as the U.S. representative from Minnesota’s first congressional district since 2007. Walz’s educational platform includes universal pre-K, stronger recruitment efforts for educators of color and eliminating vouchers.
U.S. congressional races
In addition to being the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes is now Connecticut’s first black Democrat to be elected to Congress. Despite facing financial hardship, homelessness and teen pregnancy, the 46-year-old went on to become a high school social studies teacher and is currently her district’s talent and professional development supervisor. She is an advocate of the public school system; providing support, training and resources to ensure teachers are prepared; and making career-readiness and training available to all students.
Current educators who ran for state office
The following educators were elected to state office positions:
Tippi McCullough (D), an English teacher in the Little Rock School District, was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives to serve District 33.
Current Arizona State Rep. Michelle Udall (R), who serves the state's 25th District, was re-elected to a second term. In addition to being a state representative, she is a high school math teacher in Mesa Public Schools, and she is a former member of the Mesa School Board.
Fourth-grade teacher Susan Rubio (D), who works in the Monrovia Unified School District, was elected to the state's Senate to represent District 22.
State Rep. Bobby Gibson (D), who teaches 7th-grade science for Bloomfield Public Schools, was re-elected to his seat in the state's 15th District. Gibson was first elected to the state House in January in a special election.
High school Spanish teacher Laura Sturgeon (D) of the Brandywine School District was elected to the Delaware State Senate to represent the state's 4th District.
Amy Perruso (D) teaches high school social studies under the state's only district, the Hawaii Department of Education, and she was elected to the Hawaii House for the state's 46th District. She also serves as the secretary/treasurer of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.
State Rep. John McCrostie (D), who teaches music to students in grades 5-12 across multiple school districts, was elected to his third term representing District 16A in the Idaho House of Representatives. He was first elected to the state House in 2014.
State Rep. Brett Parker (D), an elementary and middle school English teacher in Olathe Public Schools, was elected to another term serving in the District 29 seat of the Kansas state House. Parker has served in the House since 2017.
Tina Bojanowski (D) was elected to the state House in District 32. She is also a special education teacher in Jefferson County Public Schools.
R. Travis Brenda (R), a high school math teacher in Rockcastle County Schools, was elected to Kentucky's House of Representatives to represent District 71.
State Rep. Regina Huff (R), who represents House District 82, is also a special education teacher in Whitley County Schools. She was re-elected to her fourth term.
Harry Bhandari (D), a Baltimore City Public Schools teacher, was elected to Maryland's House of Delegates to represent District 8.
Matthew Koleszar (D) won the District 20 vote for the state House race. He also teaches high school English and social studies for the Airport Community School District.
Dayna Polehanki (D), a high school English teacher and data coordinator in New Haven Community Schools, won the District 7 seat in the state's Senate.
State Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (D), who serves District 41B in the Minnesota House of Representatives, was elected to her second term. She also works as a library media specialist within Robbinsdale Area Schools.
State Rep. Paul Marquart (D), who serves District 4B, was re-elected to his 10th term in the state House. He is also a high school social studies teacher for Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Public Schools.
Special education teacher JoNell Bakke (D), who works for Grand Forks Public Schools, was elected to the North Dakota State Senate representing District 43. She previously served as the senator representing the district between 2006 and 2010.
High school Spanish teacher Natalie Figueroa (D), who works for Albuquerque Public Schools, was elected to the New Mexico State House serving District 30.
Joy Garratt (D), who also works for Albuquerque Public Schools, won the race for House District 29. She is an instructional coach at an elementary school.
Willie Madrid (D), an instructional assistant in the Gadsden Independent School District, was elected to the state House to represent District 53.
State Rep. G. Andrés Romero (D) was elected to another term in the state House as the representative for District 10. Romero, who teaches social studies for Albuquerque Public Schools, has held public office since 2015.
State Rep. Debbie Sariñana (D) was re-elected to another term as District 21 representative in the state's House. She is a math teacher in Albuquerque Public Schools.
Nevada Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D), who was first elected to represent District 11 in 2010, won the vote to serve another term. Diaz is an English language learner (ELL) specialist in the Clark County School District.
Selena Torres (D), an English teacher in the Clark County School District, was elected to represent District 3 in the Nevada Assembly.
Joe Miller (D), who teaches high school social studies within Firelands Local Schools, was elected to represent District 56 in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Third-grade teacher Kelly Albright (D), an educator in Oklahoma City Public Schools, was elected to represent House District 95.
History teacher David Bullard (R) was elected to serve in the Oklahoma State Senate to represent District 6. Bullard teaches in the Denison Independent School District, located in Texas near the state's border.
Ty Burns (R), who teaches middle school social studies for Ponca City Public Schools, won the District 35 seat in the state's House of Representatives.
High school physical education teacher Dean Davis (R), who works for Broken Arrow Public Schools, won the election for House District 98.
Middle school English teacher Toni Hasenbeck (R), who works for Elgin Public Schools, won the District 65 seat in the state's House.
High school social studies teacher John Waldron (D), who also teaches in Tulsa Public Schools, was elected as state representative for District 77.
State Sen. Adam Satchell (D), who was first elected to the state Senate in 2012, was re-elected to his position serving District 9. Satchell is also a middle school social studies teacher in the West Warwick School System.
State Sen. James Sheehan (D), who teaches high school social studies for Warwick Public Schools, was re-elected to serve District 36. He was first elected to the state Senate in 2000.
Middle school social studies teacher Jeff Campbell (D), who represents District 42 in the West Virginia House of Delegates, will continue to hold his seat. Campbell, who works for Greenbrier County Schools, was first appointed to the House of Delegates in October 2017.
West Virginia Delegate Robert Thompson (D), who represents District 19, was re-elected to another term. Thompson is also a high school teacher in Wayne County.
Cody Thompson (D), a high school social studies teacher in Randolph County Schools, won the District 43 race for the House of Delegates.
State Rep. Garry Piiparinen (R), who has served District 49 in the Wyoming House of Representatives since 2013, was reelected to another term. He is also a 5th grade teacher in Uinta County School District #1.
Wyoming House Speaker Steve Harshman (R), who has represented District 37 since 2003, was reelected to another term. He is also a physical education teacher in Natrona County Schools.