An educator and fifth generation Wyomingite who grew up in Laramie is running for Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Republican candidate Jillian Balow, many know her by her maiden name of McGarvin, lived in Laramie until she was 13 when her family moved to Gillette, where she graduate high school. She returned to Laramie for college and got her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming. Balow taught in Wyoming schools for ten years and then pursued leadership in state government after attaining her Master’s Degree in Education from Regis University.

Balow says it is her experience in both education and state government that sets her apart from other candidates.

“It’s a unique skill set,” Balow says. “There aren’t many folks in education who have state government leadership experience, and not many folks in state government who have successful education experience.”

She says both experiences are vital to the Superintendent of Public Instruction role. She says that having the knowledge of how education looks at the ground level is key in the office. She adds that it is important for the superintendent to have excellent and stable leadership with strong management skills.

“I wouldn’t be running for this position if I didn’t feel like there was a significant lack of leadership and management in the current Department of Education Superintendent’s role,” she says.

Balow adds that her administrative skills will help her in the office because it is needed for the small government that many in Wyoming want to see. She says her skills and experience will help her in ensuring the government is working for people and will help set the framework so decisions can be made at a local level.

Putting important education decisions in the hands of those who are local is one of the things that Balow says is most important for education. She says she wants to listen to the citizens and those in local governments about what will work best for their schools. She adds that the state government can help by removing barriers so local governments can better succeed.

“I know that we can get work done as a state government when we remove barriers so that local communities can be successful,” she says.

Enhancing local control is just one of the things Balow says she will focus on. She says that her platform includes four planks: enhancing local control, increasing statewide collaboration, increasing parental involvement and tackling politics in education.

She says that it is important to get away from all of the political controversies that have begun to dominate the education system in Wyoming.

“What I hope to do is put a lot of the controversial politics in the rearview mirror and really focus on education.”

She adds that controversial politics have begun to trickle into the classroom in a very negative way. She says educators in the classrooms should not be affected by the decisions on the state level, and power should be placed in the hands of local government and decision makers.

Other republican candidates running against Balow in the Primary Election are Bill Winney and Sheryl Lain. Democratic candidate Mike Ceballos is also running for the position.

For more information on Jillian Balow, visit her website at Jillian4supt.com.