The Wyoming State Board of Education is composed of educators, community members and business people who are responsible for setting Wyoming’s education policies. Members represent stakeholders and work in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Education to ensure that all students have equal access to a quality education. There are 14 state board members, including Chairman Walt Wilcox, Superintendent Jillian Balow, Ex-Officio Director of Wyoming Community College Commission Dr. Sandy Caldwell, and 11 additional members appointed by Governor Gordon for six-year terms.
Walt Wilcox has lived in Wyoming for most of his life and is the associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Natrona County Schools in Casper. Prior to that he was a middle school principal. Walt earned his BA in education/special education and BS in psychology from the University of Wyoming. He later earned his Ed.s in educational leadership and MS in educational leadership from Chadron State.
Sue Belish lives in Ranchester and works for Northern Wyoming Community College District and the Wyoming School Boards Association. Prior to that she was the Sheridan School District #1 middle school principal, special education director, curriculum director, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. Sue earned her BA from Illinois Wesleyan University, her MS from Eastern Montana College, and her administrator endorsement from the University of Wyoming.
I am married to an amazing lady, Darcie Punches-Mickelson. We have two beautiful daughters. I am proud to be raising sixth generation Wyoming natives. I am a businessman. Having broad perspectives is essential in dealing with public education. I highly value the perspectives of the citizens of our great state. Building consensus and relationships while making decisions, though not always easy, is essential to the work of a body like the State Board of Education. In my free time, I serve on various boards, including the Mental Health Professions Licensing Board, Childhood Development Center board, local BOCES board, and am in my second term on the Sweetwater County School District #1 board of trustees. I enjoy hiking in the beautiful backcountry, kayaking, and visiting with folks from around our state.
Jillian Balow was elected Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2014. The State Superintendent supervises public education in Wyoming and is a member of many boards and commissions including State Lands, Loan and Investment, UW Trustees, School Facilities, Community Colleges, and the State Board of Education. Jillian is a fifth-generation Wyoming native and taught in Wyoming elementary and secondary classrooms for more than a decade. She has an undergraduate degree in education from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree in education from Regis University.
Nate Breen lives in Cheyenne and is a retired educator who spent his 36-year career as a high school social studies teacher at Laramie County School District #1, where he is a school board trustee. He earned his BA from Colorado State University.
Ryan Fuhrman is a seventh grade science teacher and instructional coach at Sheridan Junior High School, a board member of Science Kids, the 2017 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, father of three and husband to a wonderful wife of seventeen years. Ryan is a Wyoming native who graduated from Kelly Walsh High School. As a teacher he works hard to ensure that the students of Wyoming receive a world class education that prepares them to excel in a future that may be hinted at but barely imagined. Weekends find him spending time with his family, hiking in the Bighorn mountains or planning his family’s next road trip.
Debbie is a Wyoming native. She taught elementary students for 28 years, mostly in Torrington and Casper. She worked for special education for 10 years as an instructional strategist. Debbie retired in 2015 from Natrona County School district. She served as a legislator for 2 years.
Robin Schamber was born and raised in Riverton, Wyoming and now resides in Pinedale working as a University of Wyoming Extension 4-H &Youth Development Educator. Prior to that she was a research and diagnostic scientist in various departments at the University of Wyoming. Robin received a BS degree from the University of Wyoming in microbiology and an MS degree from UW in Pathobiology/Immunology.
Kathryn Sessions is a retired educator from Cheyenne. She grew up in Big Piney and taught for many years in Laramie County School District 1. Kathryn earned her BA from Utah State University and MS from Lesley University. She also served in the state legislature for 17 years, one year each as the Senate Minority Floor Leader, Senate Minority Whip and Senate Minority Caucus Chairman.
Forrest Smith was born in Gillette and grew up in Powell. He is the owner and marketing manager for GF Harvest and Canyon Oats, makers of gluten-free oat products. At the age of 2, Smith was diagnosed celiac. Seeking a trusted solution for his restrictive diet, Smith helped create the company in high school as an FFA Entrepreneur project. Smith graduated from Northwest College in 2010 with an associate’s degree in general studies. In joining the State Board of Education, Smith said he hopes to give his children – and all children in Wyoming – the same educational opportunities he had growing up.
Dan McGlade grew up in Iowa and South Dakota. He moved to Casper, WY in 1980 and began work in the energy industry. In 1985, to escape the bust of the early eighties, he founded Energy Transportation Inc with one semi truck. Early in 2015, desiring to start a new chapter in his life, he sold the company to an investment group. He remains with the company as a consultant. Mr McGlade currently serves on the boards of the Wyoming Business Alliance, (management and steering committees), as well as the Montessori School of Casper and the Wyoming State Board of Education. He was recently appointed to the Leadership Wyoming Board.