by Leo Wolfson, political reporter
Megan Degenfelder has won the Republican nomination for Superintendent of Public Instruction, taking down incumbent Brian Schroeder.
It was a race that came down to the wire, with Degenfelder winning by 3,555 votes. It was the last state race called during the evening, with Big Horn County not releasing its results until around 12:20 a.m., early Wednesday morning.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction is in charge of Wyoming’s K-12 public schools.
“I’m so humbled,” Degenfelder told Cowboy State Daily. “Our campaign was a true grassroots effort, a Wyoming campaign with support from people all around the state.”
Degenfelder said it’s important to have people with deep rooted connections to Wyoming serving in elected office, a relationship she sees as a bridge of accountability in these elected officials’ relationship to their state.
Degenfelder, a Cheyenne resident, is a sixth-generation Wyoming native who is the government and regulatory affairs manager for Morningstar Partners Oil and Gas. She was a chief policy officer for the state Department of Education from 2017 to 2019.
Degenfelder has said she will attempt to bridge the gap between the Department of Education and the private sector to let individual school districts determine educational needs based on the needs of each community’s workforce.
She has also said the voices of parents are being silenced in classrooms and described the state’s public schools as having lost track of Wyoming and American values like innovation and hard work.
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis endorsed Degenfelder in her campaign.
Schroeder was appointed by Gov. Mark Gordon in January when former Superintendent Jillian Balow stepped down to take a similar position in Virginia.
The Wyoming Republican Party had picked Schroeder and two other candidates for Gordon to pick from after Balow stepped down. The way this process was conducted drew a lawsuit that was eventually thrown in court.
Schroeder made waves over this summer for verbally opposing Federal government mandates related to recognizing gender identity in schools. He announced in June that he believes Wyoming has enough money to withdraw from $40 million annually in federal school meals dollars that could soon be linked to transgender policies.
Schroeder was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in his campaign. Schroeder’s loss is the only one Trump took in the state in this primary election, as the other three candidates he endorsed won.
Degenfelder will take on Democrat Sergio Maldanado Sr. in the general election.