Former Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow has taken a new job three months removed from resigning the same job in Virginia.
Balow announced on Twitter that she’s accepted a position in the private sector as a Client Relations Officer for MetaMetrics, a Durham, North Carolina-based education technology firm.
“Jillian’s remarkable achievements have garnered recognition from prestigious organizations and institutions, affirming her status as a changemaker in the field of education,” her biography on the company’s website reads.
During an interview in March, Balow didn't say why she resigned as Virginia’s top education official.
Balow’s resignation came amidst significant public scrutiny over mistakes the department made under her watch.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Balow is still being paid by the state of Virginia for another full year at the same salary she earned as head of the state department of education.
She will receive $266,213 in 24 settlement payments over the next year, according to confidential severance terms the Times-Dispatch obtained through a public records request. The payments represent her salary from the state.
With health insurance and vacation payouts, Balow’s total salary and benefits will be $298,760.
In addition to this income, corporate leadership jobs like the one Balow has typically offer a generous salary package. The settlement agreement does not specify any duties and does not preclude her from taking another job.
Why The Settlement?
Balow had been in her position with the state of Virginia since January 2022.
Virginia Gov. Glen Youngkin declined to comment on whether he asked Balow to resign.
MetaMetrics described Balow’s leadership in Wyoming and Virginia as “exemplary.”
Under Balow’s leadership, the Virginia Department of Education made a $201 million mistake in calculating state basic aid for K-12 school divisions after the state Legislature adopted a two-year budget, which Youngkin signed into law.
According to the Times-Dispatch, Youngkin later expressed frustration over the mistake.
The governor also acknowledged “omissions and mistakes” that the state education department made in its rewrite of the state’s K-12 history standards, including a draft proposal that referred to Native Americans as “America’s first immigrants.”
In an interview with Cowboy State Daily in March, Balow did not discuss her reasons for leaving, but praised the work of the administration and reflected positively on the experience.
“We did big work in Virginia education, exactly what I came to Virginia to do, and I’m really pleased with the initiatives we’ve launched and looking forward to some new opportunities,” she said.
Balow carried a more positive reputation in Wyoming as Superintendent of Public Instruction, a job she was elected to in 2014.
She told Cowboy State Daily she didn’t know what opportunities she would pursue next, but would like to share her experience “nationwide, in a different way, in a different capacity.”
Balow’s husband John Balow was an assistant principal at an elementary school outside Richmond, Virginia, last year. John Balow had previously been a principal at a Cheyenne elementary school.
According to her LinkedIn account, which she updates frequently, Jillian Balow still lives in Richmond.
Balow told Cowboy State Daily in March she and her family planned to stay in Virginia because her son still attends public school there, but they hope to come back to Wyoming eventually.
Youngkin appointed Balow last January after she served two terms as Wyoming’s state superintendent. Balow’s departure led to the appointment of former interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder, a selection process which drew a lawsuit and some controversy.
Balow also previously served as president of the Council of Chief State School Officers board.
Current Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder worked on Balow’s staff.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.