By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
After more than two weeks of controversy, Wyoming has a new education chief.
Brian Schroeder was sworn in as the superintendent of public instruction on Friday afternoon. He will finish outthe unexpired term of former Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, which ends in serve in January 2023.
Schroeder was chosen by Gov. Mark Gordon last week after interviews with three potential candidates who were nominated for the job by the Wyoming Republican Party.
“I reviewed application materials and conducted interviews with all the candidates that came through the selection process, and after much prayer and careful consideration I have determined that Brian Schroeder is best-suited to fill the Superintendent’s position,” Gordon said last week after announcing Schroeder’s appointment.
“Brian demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that parents are intricately involved in their children’s education, just as it should be. I will work to ensure a smooth transition in leadership for the Wyoming Department of Education,” he added.
Schroeder is a longtime educator who has worked in California, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming, serving most recently as the head of Veritas Academy. a private Christian school in Cody. He has also worked as a family and youth counselor for nearly 20 years and spent nearly a decade in pastoral ministry.
“I am honored and humbled beyond words at this incredible opportunity to serve the students, teachers and parents of Wyoming,” Schroeder said. “I’ll do my best to help strengthen education for the future of our state.”
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Maranatha Baptist University and holds a masters degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University.
In his application for the position, Schroeder spoke of the importance of schools to society.
“The local American schoolhouse is uniquely poised to be both an extension of and support for the American home as well as an incubator for and bridge to American society,” he wrote in his application for the job.
“There is, therefore, no work on earth more important than what we do as teachers (outside of parenting, of course), which makes the top teacher job in the state all the more critical by way of providing the necessary leadership and direction to our schools,” he wrote.
Schroeder is replacing Balow, who abruptly resigned in mid-January to take a similar, but appointed, position with the state of Virginia.
A lawsuit was filed last week challenging the constitutionality of the process used by the Republican party to winnow down the 12 applicants for the job to three finalists and a temporary restraining order was requested to block Gordon from appointing a successor to Balow. However, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl denied the request, allowing Gordon to choose a new superintendent.
Proceedings on the lawsuit itself will continue even though the request for the temporary restraining order was denied.