Wyoming’s 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars

Wyoming Department of Education > Superintendent's Update > Wyoming’s 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars

Greetings District Superintendents,

In this week’s update, in addition to another layer of vision casting and the latest on the Teacher Apprenticeship initiative, we proudly recognize Wyoming’s two U.S. Presidential Scholars, and eagerly share our most recent “on the road” excursion. We then conclude with the details of our Week of Academic Vision for Excellence (WAVE) Conference and some important memos from our department chiefs.

Vision & Focus

Besides being rooted in a solid identity, if a national leadership role is in the cards for us, it will require tenacity, integrity, and a good measure of vision, determination and perseverance – some of the core ingredients of courage. This week, some mild musings on this crucial leadership trait.

Among all the decisions, big and small, we as leaders face every day – sometimes several times a day – we must decide whether to give in to our fears (we all have them) or push through and overcome them. Leadership is an enterprise that only functions well when it yields to courage; therefore, fear-based leadership is not leadership.

If courage is about doing the right thing – the thing that needs to be done no matter the consequences, personally or professionally – then healthy leadership is synonymous with courage. So if Wyoming schools are poised to take the lead, it will be in large part because Wyoming schools have a courageous quality to them. With few exceptions, this quality trickles down from its leaders. Everything does rise or fall on leadership, but leadership rises or falls on courage.

The Primary Priority   

Recently, several of us here at the WDE participated in a webinar hosted by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Tennessee Commissioner Penny Schwinn called “Grow Your Own: Tennessee’s Teacher Apprenticeship, A National Model.” In response to the teacher shortage crisis that the Volunteer State had been experiencing for the last several years, leadership there developed an innovative program that became wildly successful in solving this serious problem, and have been equally excited about sharing it with the rest of the nation.

This special digital presentation was not only informative and instructive, but tremendously inspiring, as we continue to work toward launching our own Wyoming version of a Teacher Apprenticeship initiative. While our work group puts on the finishing touches, the anticipation builds in preparation for our presentation to Governor Mark Gordon on May 18. We’ll keep you posted as things move ahead on this front.

In the Spotlight

Congratulations go out to Isabelle Radakovich from Cody High School and Keegan Allen Miller from Laramie High School – Wyoming’s 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars! U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the 58th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as a demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership.

“Our 2022 Presidential Scholars represent the best of America, and remind us that when empowered by education, there are no limits to what our young people can achieve,” Cardona said.

On the Road, In The Field

Deputy Superintendent Chad Auer and I had the pleasure of touring the now legendary WyoTech, a true Wyoming treasure. Homegrown in Laramie, the school has survived 60 years of ups and downs, including corporate purchases, expansions, closures and bankruptcy. In the summer of 2018, through the last-ditch efforts of Governor Matt Mead, several legislators and Jim Mathis (a former student, teacher and executive across the years), the doors remained open with only 12 students. The student count had gone as high as several thousand at times in the past.

Fast forward to 2022, thanks to the visionary and tireless leadership of Mr. Mathis and his team, every square foot of the school’s many buildings are now bustling with the sounds of students and staff toiling away on vehicles and equipment of every kind. In addition, a plan for significant expansion is nearing implementation. What a terrific place to have right in the backyard of our high school students as they consider college, military and career ready options going forward.

You can learn more about WyoTech here.

Mark Your Calendars

The WDE’s Special Education Programs Division announces the return of the annual in-person Week of Academic Vision for Excellence (WAVE) Conference to be held at the Central Wyoming College in Riverton from July 26-28. The WDE will offer this conference at no cost for 2022. This conference is relevant for educators, parents, and other Wyoming stakeholders. State and national presenters will cover topics such as trauma response, behavior/discipline, and Special Education law.

Join department staff for a meet-and-greet reception on July 26 at the Riverton Country Club. Due to limited space, pre-registration for this event is required by July 5. A ticket will be provided for admittance when you pick up your name tag at the conference registration table.

Registration will close on July 5, 2022.

  • Register for the conference here.
  • 2022 WAVE Conference schedules, presenter session descriptions, presenter bios, and venue information can be found here.

For more information, contact Deana Smith at 307-777-5326 or deana.smith@wyo.gov or Jennifer Duncan at 307-777-3530 or jennifer.duncan@wyo.gov.

Monday memos: