What better place to start than with my own great-grandfather:
Searing, Edward 1835 – 1898
Definition: teacher, educator, politician, b. Aurora, N.Y. He attended Cazenovia Seminary in N.Y. and the Univ. of Michigan, and in 1857 moved to Wisconsin, operating various private schools in the state until 1863 when he was called to teach at Milton College, Rock County. He taught at Milton from 1863 to 1873 when he was elected state superintendent of public instruction of the liberal Republican ticket. He was re-elected in 1875, and served from Jan., 1874, to Jan., 1878. During his tenure as state superintendent, Searing also served as ex officio member of the board of regents of the Univ. of Wisconsin, and in this capacity played a prominent role in attempting to secure greater tax funds for educational and university purposes. After leaving the office of state superintendent in 1878, Searing returned to teach at Milton College for one year. In 1879 he accepted the appointment as president of the State Normal School at Mankato, Minn., where he remained until his death. Wis. Mag. Hist., 10; Mist. of Rock Co. (Chicago, 1879); M. Curti and V. Carstensen, Univ. of Wis. (2 vols., Madison, 1949); C. E. Patzer, Public Educ. in Wis. (Madison, 1924); Colls. Mimi. Hist. Soc., 14 (1912).
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]