By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Two educators and a former legislator have been nominated as candidates to fill the vacancy in the state superintendent of public instruction’s office left with the resignation of Jillian Balow.
The central committee of the Wyoming Republican Party on Saturday nominated Thomas Kelly, Brian Schroeder and Marti Halverson to finish out Balow’s term, which ends in January 2023.
The names of the three will be submitted to Gov. Mark Gordon, who will select Balow’s replacement after interviewing all three.
The three were among 12 candidates who applied for the job after Balow announced she was leaving Wyoming to take a similar position in Virginia.
Halverson, who served in Wyoming’s House from 2013-2018, said her top duty as superintendent would be to track money being spent on education in the state.
“My role as superintendent would be to know where the money’s going and also where it’s coming from,” she said. “I think we want to know, we want some accountability for the money that we’ve spent.”
Kelly, chair of the Department of Political and Military Science at American Military University, told central committee members he is seeking the superintendent’s job to help prevent public schools from being used to indoctrinate children liberal ideologies.
“I want somebody in this position who can take this on, understand exactly that we are facing the greatest assault globally I’ve ever seen on liberty,” he said. “I am here to do what I can to make sure that people are awake to what’s happening and how the kids are being used in public schools to be indoctrinated to do things like march in lockstep, wear their masks.”
All three candidates, when questioned about mandates requiring the use of face masks in classrooms, said such health decisions need to be left in the hands of local school districts and parents.
“I think that decision needs to stay local, with the communities and their schools,” said Schroeder, head of Cody’s Veritas Academy, a private Christian school. “The mask and vaccine mandate and how restrictive that ought to be, that ought to be sorted out at the school board level subject to the parents and the community.”