Joan Wade


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Joan Wade, Ed.D. is a lifelong educator with over 30 years of service in public education. She began serving as the Executive Director the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) on July 1, 2016.

Dr. Wade began her career as a library media specialist in Montello, Wisconsin. After attending graduate school, she served in various administrative capacities in Wisconsin school districts including as Technology Coordinator for Portage Community School District and Distance Learning Director for CESA 5.

Elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1998, Dr. Wade served as a State Representative in the Wisconsin State Legislature from 1998 – 2001. She served on the Education, Agriculture and Ways and Means Committees, as well as chair of the state’s Tourism Committee.

Dr. Wade served as CEO for CESA 6 for 15 years. During her tenure, she led CESA 6 through a visioning and systems design process that resulted in several major initiatives. Among her accomplishments was an in-depth study of the Next Generation of Schools which led to several new services for CESA 6, including an annual symposium on the best practices in next-generation thinking. As a champion of education, Dr. Wade and CESA 6 hosted monthly legislative forums for district administrators, of education members and regional legislators to discuss educational policies and issues.

She has always been an advocate for the value of regional educational service agencies. She seeks to provide forums for courageous leaders to network and inspires bold solutions to current and future complex challenges facing education. Dr. Wade strives to bring together diverse voices to yield active regional and national systems that produce results for the common good.

She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Universal Services Administrative Company which provides oversight to the E-Rate Program. She is a valued member of the United States Academic Decathlon Board of Directors, as well as The Center on Great Teachers & Leaders Advisory Council.

Dr. Wade is a graduate of UW-Whitewater, received her Master's Degree from UW-Madison and her Doctorate from Edgewood College, also located in Madison, Wisconsin. She currently resides in Ripon, Wisconsin with her husband, Senator Luther Olsen.