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Mike Ceballos (D)

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 


Place of residence: Cheyenne, WY

Qualifications for office you are seeking: I am the only candidate for Superintendent who has led and managed a large and complex statewide business, worked multiple times with the Legislature and Governor to enact complex legislation, and been involved with significant educational policy issues in Wyoming. In 2011 I retired as the Wyoming president of Qwest Communications, after a 30 year career with that telecommunications company. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration. I have served as a gubernatorial appointee on statewide committees tasked with improving our education system. Upon my retirement in 2011, I started studying for my doctorate in Education Leadership at the University of Wyoming. I have almost completed my course work. I have a proven record as a collaborative and innovative leader.

Why are you seeking this office?

Answer: The citizens of Wyoming share a strong desire to see our students’ education improve, thereby enhancing their opportunities for success. There is a great need and opportunity for an experienced leader to listen and find commonalities at a community and state level and to help focus support for local school districts and educators with the Legislature, State Board of Education and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE). The Superintendent’s job is primarily one of leadership and managing experts, skills I honed as the president of a large, complex Wyoming company. Experienced leadership can help resolve the educational policy chaos created by the current leadership at WDE.

One area where I want to help improve our system is testing and accountability. We need strong assessment tools and reliable data to determine how our students and schools are performing. But, while I support having focused assessments, there is a widely held feeling, which I share, that the pendulum of assessment may have swung too far towards testing. If elected I will work with Legislature, all stakeholders and the public to determine the right balance between assessment and the needs of our students to be learning, not just taking tests.

What would you make a priority, or what goal would you set, if elected?

These are the top three immediate priorities that I will pursue once I am elected to office. They all stem from the fact that the current administration has created a train wreck at the Wyoming Department of Education, which needs the experienced and competent leadership I will bring to the position.

Stabilize the WDE and rebuild its direction and mission. The Department has many talented professionals who do an excellent job and deserve supportive leadership from the Superintendent.

Rebuild relationships with the Legislature, school districts, teachers, educational professionals, the public and parents while reestablishing confidence in the Department and the Superintendent’s office.

Review of our assessment, accountability and standards setting processes and the waiver for No Child Left Behind (NCLB). NCLB noncompliance will leave most schools with potentially severe, federally imposed consequences. My other top priorities will be serving on the State Land Board and the State Land and Investment Board. These Boards are critically important to all the communities in Wyoming.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the winner of this race?

Answer: The biggest challenge that will face the next superintendent will be re-gaining the trust of the general public, the Legislature, the educational community, parents and students. The WDE can and needs to be a stable contributing partner in the efforts to elevate Wyoming’s educational system. Wyoming’s investment in its education system is second to none on a per student basis. I believe that we can have an educational system that produces graduates who are able to compete locally and globally for employment or further education. I am committed to excellence. I ask for your vote in the general election.

 

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