Tag Archives: Military

Superintendent Balow Honored with Patrick Henry Award

(L-R) Governor Matt Mead, State Superintendent Jillian Balow, Big. Gen. retired, Harold Reed, and Wyoming adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner at the Governor's Reception.
(L-R) Governor Matt Mead, State Superintendent Jillian Balow, Brig. Gen. retired, Harold Reed, and Wyoming adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner at the Governor’s Reception.

CHEYENNE – State Superintendent Jillian Balow has been recognized with the Patrick Henry Award for her contributions to the Wyoming Military Department. Major General Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s Adjutant General, presented her with the award on Saturday at the Wyoming Military Department’s annual Governor’s Reception.

“I am beyond honored to receive this award,” said Superintendent Balow. “I hold members of the military in the highest regard, and firmly believe that they set the example for all of us. Our students can learn much from them about hard work, leadership, service, and citizenry.”

The Patrick Henry Award is the civilian counterpart to the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) Distinguished Service Medal. Created in 1989, it is designed to provide recognition to local officials and civic leaders, who in a position of great responsibility distinguished themselves with outstanding and exceptional service to the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Guard or NGAUS.

“The superintendent’s quest to expand the definition of success for Wyoming’s high school students to including being military ready is greatly appreciated and will have a long-lasting positive impact on Wyoming,” Reiner said.

During her time as Superintendent of Public Instruction, Superintendent Balow has been an ardent supporter and promoter of the military. Under her leadership, the Wyoming Department of Education has adopted a vision to significantly increase the percent of Wyoming students that are college, career, and military ready. She meets regularly with Wyoming’s Adjutant General, and works with his senior enlisted advisor, Chief Master Sgt. William Whipple, to offer support to the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy. Superintendent Balow also attended the 2016 Army Educator Tour at Fort Hood, Texas in May, and worked with the Wyoming Military Department and the Governor’s Office to promote September as Military Readiness Month.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director

A Busy Week

Dear Superintendents,

After a busy week, I’ll begin by saying (maybe gloating) that next week memos will be sent out for your preview without an update–I’ll be at the Women’s Antelope Hunt. FYI, proceeds from this hunt are used to improve odds for Wyoming women and children. In 2016, the Wyoming Women’s Foundation completed a self sufficiency study that indicates 1 out of 10 households in Wyoming fall below the federal poverty level.

On September 28, Governor Mead signed the first ever proclamation recognizing military readiness and career exploration. Governor Mead, military leaders, and others shared how military service is a viable path for students pursuing STEM careers, college, or lifelong military service. Service to our country is distinctly different from other career paths.  Here is an article about the event. Did you know:

  • The ASVAB (military entrance exam) is an excellent career exploration tool for students not entering the military.
  • Only 3 in 10 youth who pursue military service qualify because of the rigorous entrance requirements.
  • All military personnel have access to college credit and career training opportunities.
  • Wyoming students who serve maintain eligibility for the Hathaway scholarship.
  • The National Guard is an option for students who want to go to college or pursue a career while serving in the military.  In today’s Casper Star Tribune, student athlete and guardsmen, David Schall, was highlighted for his accomplishments in school, military, and football. Here is a link to the article. 
Governor Mead sits at a desk after signing the proclamation as Superintendent Balow, Chief Whipple and General Reiner stand behind him.
Chief Whipple, Major General Reiner, and I as Governor Mead signs the proclamation recognizing military readiness and career exploration
Governor Mead, WDE Staff and members of the Wyoming National Guard pose for a photo outside the Governor's Office.
Guardsmen and Guardswomen at the proclamation signing

Wyoming is one of seven states selected by the U.S. Department of Education to host a listening session for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Additional information will come from Senator Enzi and myself regarding specifics. It’s important that Wyoming is well represented at this roundtable discussion. It is open to all and we will reach out broadly to educators, business and industry, parents, partners, and others. Please make plans to attend and bring your comments about how ESSA is/should be implemented by states.

Save the Date, ESSA Community Roundtable, October 26, Casper

On Tuesday, Governor Mead hosted a Suicide Prevention Symposium. There were only a few educators there—the audience was comprised mostly of survivors, family members, community resource partners, and advocates. Auditor Cloud shared the story of her son’s recent suicide. It is clear that many in Wyoming are interested in “moving the needle” on our suicide numbers, including schools. It will take continued collaboration and new approaches to prevention to truly make a difference. One first step is to talk about suicide–that was the purpose for the symposium.

State Auditor Cynthia Cloud speaking at the Governor's Suicide Prevention Symposium.
Auditor Cloud shares the devastation her family feels after her son’s suicide in March. It is imperative we talk openly about suicide.

We are planning the second Superintendent’s Summit (S5S) and will, once again, ask districts to send four people (superintendent, board chair, principal of the year, teacher of the year or designees) to the event in Cheyenne. This year, our main focus will be on leveraging ESSA to impact transitions into post-secondary. We confirmed UW President Laurie Nichols as a speaker (and that’s just the teaser).

Save the Date: S5S 2017. 2017 Wyoming State Superintendent's Policy Summit, Continued Conversations. Superintendent Balow invites every Wyoming School district to send their superintendent, board chair, outstanding principal, and teacher of the year to join the WDE team for vertical conversations about education from national, state and local perspectives. January 12-13, Little America Hotel & Resort, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Governor Mead signs the proclamation for K9's for Mobility as two black labs put their front paws on the desk, one licking the Governor's face.
Governor Mead is kissed by Roonie the service dog. Roonie will be placed at Davis Elementary School in Cheyenne to assist disabled students.

Memo to be released on Monday, October 3:


Superintendent Balow Attends Army Educator Tour

Superintendent Balow smiling just before her tandem parachute jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights.Superintendent Balow before a tandem parachute jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights.

CHEYENNE – State Superintendent Jillian Balow recently traveled to Fort Hood, Texas for the 2016 Army Educator Tour.

“This experience has reaffirmed my belief that military service is an incredible opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves in addition to gaining career skills and college credits,” said Superintendent Balow. “It was fascinating to learn just how high tech our Army is and how well-prepared soldiers are for college and careers after their service.”

The purpose of the tour was to show education leaders a sampling of the numerous opportunities available to those young men and women who choose to serve our Army and our nation. During the tour Superintendent Balow was able to observe and talk with soldiers, hear from Army leaders, tour Fort Hood’s museum, and complete a tandem parachute jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights.

Superintendent Balow was nominated to be a guest at Fort Hood by Army recruiters in Casper, Wyo. The Army paid all costs for the tour.

– END –

Media Contact:
Kari Eakins, Communications Director

ESSA Implementation Continues

Dear Superintendents,

The likelihood that you are busy wrapping up your school year is high – I’ll be brief.  We are close to finalizing dates for several ESSA related events.  First, WDE will host a series of virtual town hall meetings on the ESSA components that have the greatest effect on our state: standards and assessment, accountability, teacher and leader quality, federal funding, and school improvement.  Also, the Select Accountability Advisory Committee will convene as the base external design team for ESSA. This committee, formerly chaired by James Bailey, is now led by Judy Catchpole.  While the main focus for the group will be accountability, we will seek input on the other components as well.  I am conscientious of stakeholder fatigue and see utilizing this valuable group as a way to leverage a group that already exists.

Yesterday, the U.S. Dept. of Education released proposed rules for accountability, data reporting, and consolidated state plans under ESSA.  I have not had the opportunity to thoroughly review the proposed rules but am concerned that more State Chiefs were not involved in the work.  I’ll be attending a series of calls next week with other Chiefs to sort through the rules.  State Chiefs had no prior knowledge of the release.  We received communication when the proposed rules were made public.

This week, I had the honor of touring Ft. Hood Army Base with a group of K12 and higher education leaders from across the nation.  I spent several days alongside enlisted soldiers, NCOs, and COs learning about their jobs and opportunities in the service and as civilians.  For example, we toured the Base hospital and heard from a team of nurses and techs who support the Da Vinci surgical robot.  It was fascinating to learn just how high tech our Army is and how well-prepared soldiers are for college and careers after their service.  Additionally, I had an opportunity to network with other states and military leaders about using the ASVAB as a compass for military AND career readiness.  And, yes, I gladly volunteered to tandem jump with the Golden Knights from 14,000 feet!

Superintendent Balow smiling just before her tandem parachute jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights.




New Chief Policy Officer
Beginning July 1, Lisa Weigel will take over as Chief Policy Officer for the WDE and State of Wyoming.  She served as a principal and Special Ed Director in Converse County prior to coming to WDE in 2015.  Please feel free to reach out to her with a welcome, questions, or your thoughts.

State Loan and Investment Board
Next week is the last SLIB Mineral Royalty Grants meeting for this biennium.  Many of your communities have requested funding for projects that will enhance business and strengthen infrastructure. Your local council members and commissioners have shared the importance of the projects with me and the other statewide electeds.  Please, if you feel strongly about a project, please get in touch with me before Thursday because, unfortunately, we can’t fund all of the projects.

Memos to be released Tuesday, May 31: