We connect students, families, professional educators, and community leaders with opportunities to create, operate, and be a part of public schools that meet local needs, interests, and demands.

What We Are


The Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) exists to incubate educational innovations, to improve known best practices, and to increase educational equity.

Vision: The Wisconsin Idea in Action

As part of the University of Wisconsin System, we live the Wisconsin Idea by incubating new educational opportunities, sharing what we learn along the way with PK-20 stakeholders, and supporting efforts to close opportunity gaps and eliminate achievement gaps.

What We Do


We connect public education stakeholders with the opportunity to create, lead, or attend high-quality public schools. We can leverage expertise and resources from the university, state government, local practitioners, and national experts to improve practice and tackle shared challenges.

Incubation, Innovation, and Equity

The Office of Educational Opportunity authorizes public schools. Our role is to solicit and review public school proposals and then hold those who operate public schools that we authorize accountable to students, families, professional educators, and taxpayers.

When we review proposals for schools, we may say “yes” if the concept meets our three thresholds for authorization: incubating a new educational experience, making innovations to existing educational options, and increasing educational equity for all students.

Public-Driven accountability

Relying on a team of education, finance, and legal experts from across UW System Institutions and local partners, we solicit school proposals through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

If proposals are submitted, then our selection committee will score submissions based on a publicly available rubric.

If an application is recommended for authorization, then the director will negotiate a contract for the creation and operation of a new school. If an acceptable contract can be reached, then the Board of Regents must approve the contract before it can be signed. As with all public schools in Wisconsin,  the Department of Public Instruction will regulate any school we authorize.


Aaron Seligman is the Director for the Office of Educational Opportunity. He is a Madison public schools graduate, and was previously a public high school teacher, private practice lawyer, and nonprofit manager for both national and local education organizations. He has a law degree from UW-Madison, a Masters in Teaching from American University, and a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.