CHEYENNE – The Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) voted to elect Sheridan Junior High School assistant principal Ryan Fuhrman as chairman, Max Mickelson as vice chair, and Bill Lambert as treasurer Friday.
Fuhrman, who takes over from former board chairman Walt Wilcox, was the 2017 Wyoming Teacher of the Year. In his remarks, Fuhrman quoted 2019 Milken Award winner Brian Cox, principal at Johnson Junior High in Cheyenne.
“Brian Cox said that the key to success is relentless forward progress,” Fuhrman said. “I am encouraged that with all of the issues that we’re wrestling with that we [the SBE] have the ability to make some forward progress when we work hand-in-hand with the department and our teachers across the state.”
Governor Mark Gordon attended the meeting to address the board, and thanked them for their work to develop Computer Science standards.
“Your role is integral to education,” Gordon said. “And I ask, ‘How do we do this for Wyoming?’ Well, it all starts with you, so I thank you. I know the Computer Science standards were a heavy lift, and I commend you for all your hard work.”
Gordon also addressed the board on what he said he sees as a vital addition to Wyoming classrooms – the need for financial literacy education.
“The kids in those classes are already interested in business and want to be there,” Gordon said. “I’m interested in the kids who are interested in welding – career and technical education. Those are the kids who need to have some kind of financial education associated with the curriculum.”
Under action items, the board voted to approve the 2016 Science Blueprint. The science standards became effective September 23, 2016, and are to be fully implemented in schools by the start of school year 2020-21, and operationally assessed on the WY-TOPP Science Assessments in the spring of 2021. The Science Blueprint will be used by the assessment vendor to develop test questions for grades 4, 8, and 10.
The board also approved the request for proposal to study the effectiveness of the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act.
Wyoming educators, including Cox, and Dane Weaver, the 2020 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, made presentations before the board about their own backgrounds and their vision for education in the state. The board also recognized the 2017-18 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) awardees and 2019 PAEMST finalists.
The next board meeting is scheduled for March 26-27, 2020 in Casper. For more information about the SBE and its mission, visit https://edu.wyoming.gov/board and follow the SBE on Twitter at @WYStateBoardEd.
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Dr. Thomas Sachse