Jillian Balow, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

Jillian Balow is serving a second term as Wyoming’s elected State Superintendent. She oversees education in the state, and as one of Wyoming’s five elected constitutional officers, Jillian sits on the State Loan and Investment Board and the State Board of Land Commissioners.

Jillian leads with the fundamental understanding that education should provide maximum opportunities for our youth to become successful citizens. Jillian is especially passionate about career and technical education, support for our military, and rural education.

Some highlights of her tenure include:

State Leadership

  • Jillian led the work to add “Computer Science” as a required academic content area for all students.
  • She incorporated career and military readiness into Wyoming’s statewide accountability model for the first time. This, along with other military advocacy, earned her the 2016 Patrick Henry Award for her contributions to the Wyoming Military Department. 
  • Jillian led the transformation of the state’s early literacy laws into some of the most rigorous in the country to help ensure all students read at or above grade level.
  • She worked with tribal partners to enact “Indian Education for All” so that all Wyoming students learn about the history and contributions of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes.
  • Jillian developed a support system for Wyoming’s lowest performing schools. In three years, the number of schools requiring assistance has decreased by 5%. 
  • She holds true to the belief that small government is best and reduced in-agency personnel by 11% and agency operating funds by 15% while maintaining an optimal capacity, before 2020 reductions.
  • Jillian overhauled the state standards review process to be the most collaborative and transparent in the nation. 
  • She serves as the co-chair of the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt and is an avid hunter and outdoorswoman.
  • Jillian is the first Wyoming State Superintendent to serve on the steering committee of the Wyoming Business Alliance.
  • She serves on the advisory council for the Congressional Award, which was created by the late U.S. Senator Malcolm Wallop.
  • Jillian is a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of Wyoming.

National Leadership

Jillian believes that oftentimes states like Wyoming are left out of the conversation at the national level. She has worked to change that.  

  • Jillian is the President of the Board of Directors for the Council of Chief State School Officers, the professional association of state education heads from across the nation. 
  • She is a 2020 Duke University Hunt-Keane Leadership Fellow.
  • Jillian also served as the Treasurer of the Education Commission of the States, the highest ranking position a state superintendent can have in that organization. 
  • Jillian was recognized as the the 2017 State Policymaker of the Year by the State Education Technology Directors Association 
  • In 2018, she received the Influencer of the Year Award from the Mott Foundation. 

Background

Jillian is a fifth-generation Wyoming native. She taught in Wyoming classrooms for 10 years and has worked to support Wyoming children and families her entire career. 

She has an undergraduate degree in education from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree in education from Regis University. In addition to teaching, Jillian has consulted in the private sector, served as an administrator at both the Wyoming Department of Family Services, and was a policy advisor to Governor Matt Mead.

A mother of two, Jillian’s daughter, Paiton, is 20 and is an active duty specialist in the Army. Her son Jack is 15. Her husband, John, is an elementary school principal.