Jillian Balow

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Jillian Ann McGarvin Balow

Wyoming Superintendent
of Public Instruction
Assumed office 
January 5, 2015
Preceded by Cindy Hill

Born September 6, 1970 (age 50)
Laramie, Wyoming
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) John Paul Balow
(married 1994)
Children Two children

Larry Hunter and Susan Ruth McGarvin

Residence Cheyenne, Wyoming
Alma mater Campbell County High School

University of Wyoming (Laramie)
Black Hills State University
Regis University

Occupation Educational administrator
Religion Roman Catholic

Jillian Ann McGarvin Balow (born September 6, 1970) is the Wyoming superintendent of public instruction.[1] In January 2015, she succeeded fellow Republican superintendent Cindy Hill.


Balow is a fifth-generation native of Wyoming, born in Laramie but a resident of the capital city of Cheyenne. She formerly resided in Gillette, Wyoming, where she graduated from Campbell County High School. For college, she returned to Laramie, where in 1993, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Wyoming.[2] In 2000, she later studied at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. In 2005, she received a Master of Education from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. For ten years, she was a classroom teacher in Hulett in Crook County and then Gillette.[3]

She has been active in the Food Bank of the Rockies, the Wyoming Children's Society, and a trustee of the Roman Catholic St. Mary's Elementary School In Cheyenne and the Devils Tower National Monument Foundation in the western Black Hills. Her husband, John Paul Balow (born 1967), is also an educator, the former principal of Johnson Junior High School.[3]

Political life[edit]

Balow is a former human services policy advisor to Republican former Governor Matt Mead and during 2014 an administrator at the Wyoming Department of Family Services. She won the Republican primary for state superintendent over two intraparty opponents, Bill Winney and Sheryl Lain.[2] On November 4, 2014, Balow polled 60 percent of the vote over her Democrat opponent, Michael A. Ceballos, though many had expected a closer contest. Balow opposed the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which Ceballos conversely supported.[4]

Balow resists calls to make the office of the superintendent appointed: "We're all stakeholders in education; so to take that voice out of who generally supervises education is again, in my opinion, unfortunate."[5] The term of Balow's predecessor, Cindy Hill, was cut short by the state legislature until the Wyoming Supreme Court struck down the lawmakers and allowed Hill to complete her term.[6]

The superintendent also sits on boards related to economic development, higher education, and other issues. "As state superintendent, with my focus on children and families, that's a unique perspective to bring to those boards and commissions that no other elected really brings," Balow told a conference in Cheyenne.

Balow, who calls herself a "conservative",[3] has formed an outreach cabinet to advise her on policy, the members of which include Moderate Republican former former Governor Jim Geringer and former Superintendent Judy Catchpole.[5]

In the general election on November 6, 2018, Balow was reelected as the superintendent without Democrat opposition.[7]


  1. Jillian Balow. mylife.com. Retrieved on March 4, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tracie Perkins (July 21, 2014). Jillian Balow discusses superintendent bid. KOWB AM Radio in Laramie. Retrieved on March 4, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Biographical Profile for Jillian Balow," vote-wy.org, accessed December 11, 2014.
  4. Aaron Schrank (November 5, 2014). Republican Jillian Balow Elected Wyoming Schools Chief. Wyoming National Public Radio. Retrieved on March 4, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Balow: Education chief should remain elected," The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, December 6, 2014.
  6. Aerin Curtis, "Hill begins her return to the Education Dept.," The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, April 22, 2014.
  7. Jillian Balow. ballotpedia. Retrieved on March 4, 2021.