state superintendent of public instruction

Superintendent Elect Jillian Balow has announced the leadership team who will work with her at the Wyoming Department of Education.

Balow named Cheyenne attorney Dicky Shanor her Chief of Staff. Laramie County School District 1’s Brent Young will serve as Balow’s Chief Policy Officer, Laramie County 2’s Brent Bacon was named Chief Academic Officer, and Dianne Bailey will be promoted from within the Department to the role of Chief Financial Officer.

The race for Wyoming’s schools chief was expected to be a close one, but it wasn't. Republican Jillian Balow defeated Democrat Mike Ceballos in the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tuesday night with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Despite his party affiliation, Ceballos earned credibility in deep-red Wyoming with his business leadership experience. He racked up a string of key endorsements, and outspent Balow during the campaign, but Ceballos says he didn’t make his case to enough people.

Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joins Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to help analyze the races and issues at stake in tomorrow's elections.

A political action committee representing Wyoming teachers announced Monday it has pulled its endorsement of Jillian Balow the Republican candidate for Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Wyoming Education Association’s Political Action Committee for Education—known as WEA-PACE—endorsed both Balow and her Democratic opponent Mike Ceballos before this year’s primaries.

But Balow’s rhetoric about organized labor in a recent fundraising letter caused concern among the group of educators. In the letter, Balow criticized her opponent for receiving union support.  

Yellowstone Gate via Flickr Creative Commons

In a report on the status of Wyoming’s schools released last week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill says that the Legislature has overstepped its authority when it comes to education issues in the state.

Hill says lawmakers have used their responsibility for funding K-12 education as an excuse to manage it.

“The legislature has the power of the purs

  e,” says Hill. “Yes, they’re responsible for funding, but not all of the decisions that are related.”

Candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction agree on several issues, but Democrat Mike Ceballos says his experience as a CEO of QWEST gives him the edge, while Republican Jillian Balow says her background as a classroom teacher makes her the best choice. 

One key difference is over the Common Core education standards which were adopted by Wyoming, but are now under fire. Ceballos says he’s a strong supporter of the standards, but charges that Balow has waffled.

Most Wyomingites would like to see the State Superintendent of Public Instruction become an appointed position, rather than an elected one. That’s according to a consulting group hired by lawmakers to conduct a statewide survey on education governance.

The Maryland-based consulting group, Cross & Joftus conducted in-depth interviews with education stakeholders and launched an online survey for public input. Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents and 75 percent of interviewees believed a shift to an appointed schools chief would be a good move.

The Wyoming Board of Education supports making the state’s schools chief an appointed position instead of an elected one, as the Wyoming Constitution currently requires.

After hours of deliberation Thursday, all but one Board member voiced support for making such changes to the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Board was split on whether the Governor or the Board itself should be responsible for appointing a state Superintendent.

Jillian Balow won the Republican nomination for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tuesday night, beating out two other contenders. Now, she’ll face Democrat Mike Ceballos in November’s general election.

Balow is an administrator with the Wyoming Department of Family Services and a former teacher. She received 41 percent of the statewide vote.

Sheryl Lain works as an instructional leader under current Superintendent Cindy Hill.  She got 32 percent of the vote—and former Navy submarine commander Bill Winney got 27 percent.

There was disagreement during a Republican State Superintendent of Public Instruction debate concerning the administration of Cindy Hill. 

Sheryl Lain, who currently works for Hill, defended the Superintendent and says education has improved and test scores have gone up. But Jillian Balow says the state can’t have four more years of a Hill/Lain administration. 

Two of the three Republican candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction say it should be left up to local school boards to determine if teachers or others can have guns in schools. Bill Winney was adamant that the issue should be decided locally.

“There’s something in me that says a teacher shouldn’t be standing in front of a classroom with a pistol on their hip…I got that. But that’s not the real point…the real point is the authority and local control of our school boards.” 

Jillian Balow is one of three Republican candidates running for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Balow has worked for late Senator Craig Thomas and current Governor Matt Mead. For ten years she was a classroom teacher, she has worked for the State Department of Education, and currently she is with the Department of Family Services where her duties include early childhood education. She speaks with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Sheryl Lain has been a classroom teacher and has spent the last several years training teachers as an instructional leader. Lain is one of three Republicans seeking the party nomination for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Lain has spent the last three years working side by side with current Superintendent Cindy Hill. 

The special legislative committee investigating Wyoming schools Superintendent Cindy Hill has released a final report sharply criticizing her performance. 

The report released Wednesday concludes Hill failed to follow legislative budget directives and intentionally violated the law by requiring permanent Education Department employees to certify she could fire them at any time.

Bill Winney

Three Republicans are seeking the nomination for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. One of them is Bill Winney. He is a retired Naval Officer who wants to bring that leadership experience to help run the state department of education. In the Navy he trained a number of people and says training and education were a key part of his career.

What do you want from the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction?

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

By contributing your comment, you consent to the possibility of having it read on the air.

Bill Winney

A former US Navy Submarine commander is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Republican Bill Winney says training and education were big parts of his job in the Navy, and that the Wyoming Department of Education is in need of the type of leadership he would bring to the job.

A former classroom teacher and former Wyoming Department of Education employee has announced that she will run for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Republican Jillian Balow says she has four goals.

“Enhancing local control in the school districts; increasing collaboration across the state with multiple stakeholders; empowering parents to be more involved with education; and I’m also tackling the political issues that have dominated education in Wyoming.”

An administrator in the Wyoming Department of Family Services says she is running for state superintendent of public instruction.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill made a brief appearance at the State Department of Education in an effort to reclaim her job.  The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that a law that removed many of Hill’s duties is unconstitutional.  

Hill walked into the Department Monday morning with two of her staff members.   After those staff members met with Education Director Rich Crandall she left the building.

After a lengthy debate the State Senate approved a bill setting up a super committee to address a Supreme Court ruling about the duties of State Schools Superintendent Cindy Hill. The legislature passed a law last year that removed Hill’s authority to manage the State Department of Education among other things.  The court ruled that law unconstitutional. Some lawmakers want to see if either the Supreme Court or a District Court will help them fix their law.  But Senator Phil Nicholas says that lawmakers should be prepared to move forward without any additional guidance.

As lawmakers wrap up their investigation of State Superintendent Cindy Hill, Hill says she’s done nothing wrong.  A special legislative committee is currently reviewing claims that Hill misspent money when she was in charge of the State Department of Education, an allegation she denies.  Hill contends that lawmakers investigating the charges have not let her see evidence or allowed her to respond.

A lawyer representing State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill is threatening to sue over comments by legislators that appeared in a white paper explaining why lawmakers removed much of Hill’s power.  The white paper was crafted to respond to non-legislative members of the Wyoming Republican Party who expressed concern over the law's passage.  It was distributed in an email by Big Horn Representative Rosie Berger.   Hill’s Attorney Robert DiLorenzo wrote Berger saying that the white paper appeared to be defamatory and he demanded that Berger provide proof for several statements

The Wyoming Republican Party Central Committee has approved a resolution endorsing the drive to repeal the state law that took power away from the state superintendent of public instruction.

The Central Committee approved the resolution on a 40-32 vote over the weekend in Buffalo.

The action is a slap at the Republican controlled state Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead who approved the law during this past legislative session.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

After two weeks of discussion, the Wyoming Legislature has voted to remove some duties from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The legislation awaits the signature of Governor Matt Mead. 

The bill would hand over administration of the State Department of Education to a Governor appointed Director of Education. 

Opponents of the bill once again complained that they were going against voters who supported the election of Superintendent Cindy Hill by a two-to-one margin. 

Rock Springs Republican Stephen Watt again asked the House to slow down.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill says she is looking forward to addressing a legislative committee next week following a report that was critical of her department.

The Legislative Service Office report said that errors and communication problems led to delays in the Department of Education’s ability to provide necessary federal information and required state accountability data.  Hill says the report is inaccurate.