Congratulations, Tom Wright

Wyoming Department of Education > Superintendent's Update > Congratulations, Tom Wright

Dear Superintendents,

The older I grow, the more mindful I become of the inexorable link between liberty and literacy. The one cannot live without the other. Our best leaders are our best readers, and we effectively sustain American liberty by producing a generation of adept and voracious readers. May this edition of the Update serve to help reinforce our commitment to both as we constantly take steps to renew our vision for the one and our focus on the other.

Vision & Focus

The liberal arts of education are the liberating arts, or sometimes called the arts of freedom. They liberate the mind from ignorance and free the mind from mind blinds. These “thinking arts” serve as the fuel for a free society because they provide the kindling for a constitutional republic, and they fan the flames of civic virtue because they pursue the true, the good and the beautiful. Moreover, they help to form a solid foundation for our young because they lay the necessary groundwork for an invested and involved future citizenry.

This is the work we have chosen for such a time as this, and it is surely one of life’s greatest opportunities as well as its highest honors. As difficult as it truly is sometimes, we nonetheless can count ourselves lucky to be a part of it.

The Primary Priority

This week’s Superintendent’s Update will mark the transition from the Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship (WTA) as the Primary Priority of the WDE to what is unarguably the unmitigated foundation of education, i.e., linguistic literacy.

Weekly updates, of course, will continue in the segment directly below regarding ongoing WTA progress, but moving the literacy emphasis front and center will not only reflect our celebration of all the progress made in recent years (in both our department and in the districts), but will also seek to fan the flame of continued exponential progress and success that is both necessary and anticipated.

Deepest heartfelt thanks to all our literacy teachers in every school in this state for working so hard at laying this sure foundation for all our early learners. This is where it all begins.

Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship Q&A

What are the requirements or qualifications for a candidate for the apprenticeship?

Minimally, the state guidelines are as follows. School districts can then add requirements or qualifications that they consider necessary, and evaluate candidates based on alignment with the needs at the individual school level.

  • Employee of the district, seeking a Wyoming teaching certificate.
  • Completed application with letter of recommendation from administrator within the district.
  • Must complete an interview by district personnel, followed by entering into an agreement to complete the degree, to complete the on-the-job learning, to obtain the Wyoming PTSB teacher certificate. Ensure the individual has the personality, skill set, and disposition that will be a good match to the profession
  • Minimum work history in the same district of one academic year.

In the Spotlight

Tom Wright has served on the school board of the Weston County School District #1 since 1975. You read that right, since 1975 – that is 47 consecutive years, which may be a record in this state! Think of the contribution this great man has made over all those years to the students of Weston County and their families. He easily gets choked up just talking about it, so deep goes that commitment.

Superintendent Brad LaCroix himself has served 30 years in this same district, no small feat in its own right. He is obviously (and rightly) very proud of his school board, and especially of Tom Wright. “Tom has seen a lot and is so incredibly knowledgeable,” LaCroix said. “He can weigh in intelligently on virtually every subject, from school funding to legislation policy to ranch water.”  Most importantly, LaCroix said, what marks Tom most is his “…integrity and how much he cares. He takes great pride in his family, his ranching and this district.”

All of this and more makes Tom Wright a living Wyoming legend, and one of the major reasons Wyoming schools still are (exceptions notwithstanding) what all schools in America used to be. For Tom, this is a very special legacy worth protecting and preserving, whatever it takes.

Truly, it is the old-school character of men like him that makes this state what it is.  Thank-you, Tom, for your unmatched commitment. It was such an honor to meet you last week, and it is an equal honor this week to put you “In the Spotlight!”  What a profound example you are to the rest of us. May your leadership continue to bear much fruit.

Mark Your Calendar

The Daniels Scholarship Program provides the opportunity for motivated students to attend the college of their choice. Daniels Scholars® will receive up to $100,000 to be applied at any two- or four-year, nonprofit, accredited college or university in the United States, depending on financial need.

We’re looking for students with great potential, strong character, and big dreams. Daniels Scholars are America’s next generation of leaders, persevering through life’s challenges and rooted in the values important to Bill Daniels. They are free and entrepreneurial thinkers who are proud of this country and their community and work hard to improve it.

Apply for the Daniels Scholarship Program by October 15 here.


Earth Science Kits Available

The 2022 Earth Science Week toolkits are now available for Wyoming classrooms. The 50 toolkits, provided by the American Geosciences Institute to the Wyoming State Geological Survey, are available at no cost to Wyoming educators on a first come, first served basis.

Earth Science Week is Oct. 9–15 and celebrates the theme, “Earth Science for a Sustainable World.”

Request a toolkit by emailing Christina George at

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