July 17, 2019
Bill Lambert has served on his local school board, as a county commissioner, and as a member of the Wyoming Livestock Board. In these capacities, he said he has learned about the formal processes of a board. Lambert said he likes the structure of a formal board setting and has found that the structural processes of boards help immensely when a controversial subject arises. As a board member, Lambert tries to pose questions that help focus the discussion.
“The right question at the right time is much more useful to the whole board, than any statement or assertion,” Lambert said. “An individual doesn’t have much power in a board setting, but when the entire board speaks with a single voice, that’s where public policy can emerge.”
As a Wyoming rancher, Lambert knows the power of work ethic. He’s pleased that the State Board of Education (SBE) turns its attention to career and technical education at least four times a year. Lambert said he believes that students should be given every opportunity to maintain balance in career education and academics. Separating students into the career or college tracks before high school would be a big mistake, Lambert said.
“You don’t have to be on one path or another,” Lambert said. “Passion leads to perseverance; if you like it, you’ll do it.”
Instilling work ethic and other “non-cognitive skills” is an important part of the entire educational process. Lambert said he hopes to represent the value of work as a member of the SBE.
Lambert said he also is an advocate for local control in Wyoming. While he looks forward to establishing state policy as a member of the state board, he said he recognizes that state policy needs to tie back to the local community in a very fundamental way. Lambert said he is often surprised when local representatives go to Cheyenne and start dictating practices that used to be the province of local control.
“I learned as a member of the Wyoming Livestock Board that I couldn’t set state policy for practices that went against how I ranch myself,” he said. “I want to make sure that policies established by the state board support the values and practices of local school boards.”