The Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) was created through the Wisconsin Legislature in 2015 as part of the biannual budget Act 55  and amended in 2017 to allow for statewide chartering of schools. Wisconsin Statutes 36.54and 118.40(2x) define the scope and authority of the office. Its director is appointed by the president of the University of Wisconsin System

What We Do

Incubation, Innovation, and Equity

We help create new school partnerships and opportunities. Our role is to solicit and review public charter 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.

OEO reviews proposals on a publicly available rubric and negotiates contracts for the creation of (or renewal of) a school.

Ensure and Oversee Public Charter School Integrity and Impact

As with all schools in Wisconsin, the Department of Public Instruction regulates any OEO-authorized charter schools. 

Per its charter contractsOEO conducts monitoring and oversight activities to schools to ensure schools uphold their mission and meet performance targets for academic, financial, and organizational outcomes  

These activities include evaluations, presentations at board meetings, formal written communication to the school leadership and board, site visits, data review and analysis, and informal feedback.

Our Team


  • Cynthia Gonzalez, Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) Director

Advisory Council  

The OEO convenes highly-qualified individuals from diverse educational, professional, and cultural backgrounds to evaluate charter school proposals and renewal applications. The Advisory Council reads applications, participates in capacity interviews with applications, and collectively providerecommendations to the OEO.  

Advisory council members include university faculty and students, school leaders, and designers.  

  • Barbara Bales, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Educational Innovation in PK-20 and Education Programs, UW System
  • Al Brandt, Ph.D., Charter School Liaison, Appleton Area School District
  • Noah Brisbin, Legal Counsel, UW System
  • Johannes Britz, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, UW System
  • Kristi Cole, Ph.D., Chief Education Officer, The Lincoln Academy
  • Kevin Lawrence Henry, Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, UW Madison
  • Colleston Morgan, Jr., Director of Policy & Advocacy, City Forward Collective

Every public charter school proposal is reviewed by some, but may not be reviewed by all, council members.