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UW Trustees Education Initiative Moves Forward

January 22, 2016
woman speaking into microphone
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow speaks Wednesday during an event marking the start of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees Education Initiative. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees’ initiative to elevate UW’s College of Education to national pre-eminence in preparing K-12 teachers, counselors and administrators was celebrated and advanced during this week’s meeting of the trustees.

On Wednesday, representatives of the Daniels Fund joined with UW administrators and faculty and staff of the College of Education to mark the partnership of the university and the nonprofit organization. The Daniels Fund, founded by cable TV pioneer Bill Daniels, has approved grants totaling $5 million in support of the Trustees Education Initiative.

Among those speaking were Linda Childears, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund; Hank Brown, former U.S. senator from Colorado and current member of the Daniels Fund board of directors; Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow; UW President Dick McGinity; College of Education Dean Ray Reutzel; and Board of Trustees President Dave Palmerlee.

On Thursday, the Board of Trustees approved appointments made by Palmerlee to the board that will manage the initiative. The Trustees Education Initiative Board is composed of trustees, UW administrators, College of Education representatives, Wyoming K-12 educators, first lady Carol Mead, external members and others. Ex-officio members include Balow and Wyoming Community College Commission Executive Director Jim Rose.

“We appreciate the willingness of these individuals to serve on this body to help assure that the Trustees Education Initiative achieves its objective of lifting the College of Education to new levels of excellence,” Palmerlee says. “Their experience, commitment and expertise will be invaluable.”

Members of the board are:

-- Trustees Palmerlee, of Buffalo; John McKinley, of Cheyenne; John MacPherson, of Saratoga; Dave Bostrom, of Worland; and Wava Tully, of Lusk.

-- UW President Dick McGinity.

-- School of Energy Resources Director Mark Northam.

-- College of Education Dean Reutzel.

-- Associate Professor Alan Buss of the college’s Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

-- First lady Carol Mead, a UW alumnus and advocate for children.

-- Sheridan County School District 2 Superintendent Craig Dougherty.

-- Tom Botts, retired executive of Royal Dutch Shell, UW alumnus and UW Foundation Board member.

-- April Brimmer Kunz, UW alumnus, former legislator, attorney and UW Foundation Board member.

Joining Balow and Rose as ex-officio members are K-12 educator and Wyoming Teacher of the Year Amy Pierson, of Buffalo, and a College of Education student who will be named later.

The first meeting of the board will be scheduled in the next several weeks.

The Trustees Education Initiative was established by the board in fall 2014 to “elevate the UW College of Education to national pre-eminent status in professional educator preparation, ultimately to improve and enhance K-12 education in Wyoming.”

During 2016-17, the Daniels Fund grant will fund a strategic planning phase that includes hiring an executive director to work in tandem with the dean of the College of Education to lead the Education Initiative; and hiring expert research consultants to help teams composed of faculty, K-12 personnel and other stakeholders to evaluate eight of UW’s existing educator preparation programs by studying promising programs across the country. Additionally, town hall regional meetings will be held across the state to assess and solicit input about effective teaching practices, and the components of effective professional educator preparation curricula that will best serve Wyoming’s K-12 educational system.

The goal of the Education Initiative’s first phase is to produce a strategic plan to transform UW’s entire suite of educator preparation programs. The plan developed and approved by the Trustees Education Initiative Board and the UW trustees would be implemented by the College of Education in the second phase, during 2018-2020.

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