Over the Hill: Time for 'the super' to move on?

2013-04-17T00:00:00Z Over the Hill: Time for 'the super' to move on? Casper Star-Tribune Online
April 17, 2013 12:00 am

It may just be that Wyoming is — for the time being — over Cindy Hill.

Nearly a month ago, a Cheyenne judge ruled that the superintendent of public instruction would not get an injunction so she could be restored to her former role as leader of the Wyoming Department of Education. In the meantime, the Wyoming Supreme Court has accepted the case.

The District Court’s ruling said that while Hill was earnest and truthful in her belief that Wyoming students were harmed by her lack of leadership, she offered no substantial proof that her newly reformulated job duties did any harm to the average student.

And really, the court case summarized beautifully the problem with Hill’s tenure: Her vision and leadership failed to resonate within the department or improve the educational lot of Wyoming students.

We’ve said plenty about Hill’s difficult tenure as the leader of the department. We’ve talked about the Legislature’s constitutional right to define her job duties, even if it is in a greatly diminished role. In one very real aspect, Hill was a victim of the inevitable, which was only hastened by her own ineffectual leadership. She was not the first problematic leader to hold the position of superintendent. Her own strained time at the helm forced leaders to deal with the problem: Education is about actions and expertise outside the political realm.

After being reassigned duties, Hill took the offensive and vowed to run for governor.

And that’s exactly when Hill should have lost any credibility in her efforts to convince the public (or the courts) that her mission was about trying to improve education in Wyoming.

No matter what happens in the pending court case, no matter how Hill redefines the job, it’s clear she has other political ambitions. She is a lame duck as a superintendent.

It’s not just about her, though. Any politician who would seek a different office becomes, at best, distracted. She can’t be both an advocate for students and a candidate for governor.

Hill has been touring around the state, sharing her story, which includes her ouster as the leader of the Wyoming Department of Education. She is tentatively scheduled to come to Casper on April 26. The talks, from accounts throughout the state, seem much more about the politics and have little to do with true education issues. In fact, in the words of the Cheyenne judge’s decision, her actions seem to have little correlation with what’s happening in the classroom.

We can’t help but also wonder if these political speeches aren’t just a barely subtle attempt at running for office.

Again, if Hill wants to run for governor — and is truly serious — then she should step aside and run full time for the governor’s seat. Instead, she seems to want to use her office as superintendent as a taxpayer-funded martyrdom and platform for her to travel throughout the state at Wyoming’s expense.

If she continues in her role, Hill needs to ensure that she is truly working for education, not fulfilling her aspirations of becoming the next governor of the state.

In many ways, Hill herself has illustrated the problem: Education has become too much about politics and grandstanding. Meanwhile our test scores lag and our results, including graduation rates, are mediocre.

If it were truly about the students, Hill would be fighting for them instead of the governor’s chair.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(9) Comments

  1. thehousemouse
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    thehousemouse - April 27, 2013 5:52 pm
    Im circulating a petition for this and i have had no problem getting voters to sign, some even taking it in to their wedding party to get signed, people are flat out mad about this. they are seeing this as an attack on their voteing rights. As i do as well, weather you hate or love cindy. its your vote that put her there and can take her out. i gained over 40 today alone. and im not really even trying, i will this next two week and fill every page i got on my stack.
  2. Report Abuse
    - April 17, 2013 4:29 pm
    People should be careful what they wish for. Last I knew even though you might not be a supporter, she was elected. If it can happen to her, what about others?.
  3. Wyoite
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    Wyoite - April 17, 2013 3:53 pm
    Is it just me, or is the first line of this article bizarre? It implies the CST has become irrelevant and opines on subject matters which the people of Wyoming no longer care about.
  4. brendo
    Report Abuse
    brendo - April 17, 2013 2:33 pm
    Remember folks, The wyoming legislature and the socialist rag CST know MUCH more about education and what our children need than we, the ignorant peasants of backwater Wyoming.

    Your paper's please.
  5. LiferRepub1
    Report Abuse
    LiferRepub1 - April 17, 2013 11:28 am
    It seems to me that the Star Tribune should be writing an editorial objecting to the way an elected official was unseated and how the voters of this state had their rights trampled. The Star Tribune should also look back on the history of how education has under-performed under the leadership of Hank Coe. Stagnation in education is more a product of political maneuvering in Cheyenne than anything else. The legislature doesn't want educational progress because it would take away the main platform most legislatures campaign on. Education has long been the whipping boy of the Wyoming legislature and will continue to be long into the future. Has it ever occurred to the Trib that maybe parents should be held accountable for their kids education and politicians like Coe should be held accountable for the crap they spew out every two years.
  6. jackel
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    jackel - April 17, 2013 10:25 am
    Well the Star is a shooting Star, burning up in the atmosphere of the people's voice. It was never about the Govenors office, again it was about the Votes of Wyoming people.. So the Star now blames Mrs. Hill for saying she is going to run for the office that did not stand up for the people of Wyoming, but the special interest of some grand-old boys in Senator Nickloas, and Senator Coe.
    Why doesn't the Star tell the real story about Money and a public school network loaded with freeloading off the public's money. May be the Star should show how much the budgets have growen over the past ten years. Then focus specificly on the PAWs testing budget.
    I would have to say that budget has growen, how about the Star dening that fact. Mrs. Hill stated at a Meeting I attended, it went from $500,000. to 1.4 million quite an increase all her fault if the Star were to state in the Paper Today.
    I think American History is loaded with people who run against the establishment and Governors who have not the best interest of the people who they represent.
    Wyoming people voted right or wrong the issue is not Mrs. Hill's agenda, it is our agenda and we voted for the office. No different than voting for the Governor.
    Governor Mead did not back the people, but Mrs. Hill did her job right or wrong and there is no criminal accounts to say like wise. I would rather vote for Mrs. Hill than cast another vote for a Governor that could have solved this problem, and not increased the overall budget, by listening to the people of Wyoming and how we voted.
  7. Wyoite
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    Wyoite - April 17, 2013 9:44 am
    Surprise! The Trib doesn't like Hill! Unfortunately for them, their guy (Massey) got an old fashion whoopin' when the voters put in Hill by an incredible 2-1 margin.

    The vast majority of the voters elected Hill to fix the schools. Now, some yahoos have passed a law (which the GOP is trying to now repeal) which stated that, in order for her to fix the schools, she needed to run for Governor. She owes it to the people that voted for her to run for Governor and finish the job that the people elected her to do. The notion that someone cannot continue in elected office while running for office is ludicrous and silly logic which smacks of desperation. **Is the Trib going to call for Gov. Mead to step down if he decides to run for re-election?? ** Is the Trib going to call for Senator Enzi to step down if he indeed does run for another term? Did the Trib call for Max Maxfield to step down from his auditor position to run for Secretary of State?

    One can only assume that Hill, and the State GOP leaders who just sanctioned the backers of SF 104, will defeat Mead in the next low-turnout primary (if he even runs as a Republican, which would be a waste of his time and money) and she will be heading to the governors mansion. And that is horrifying to the Trib, who has down all in its power to stop her.

    I now suspect Mead and Coes move of ordering an after-the-firing- audit to try to dig up dirt on their opponent using State funds will fail--but the Trib will report there were some sort of indiscretions without providing any factual basis. You guys are way too predictable!

    Is Mead back from his foreign vacation yet? If so, perhaps the Trib could track him down for a comment on why the GOP leaders in the state voted to repeal SF104? Nahh- that's too embarassing for him, the Trib should just leave it.
  8. goppoke
    Report Abuse
    goppoke - April 17, 2013 9:23 am
    Should the Governor step asside so he can run for the office of Governor full time or should he concentrate being Governor and not run a re-election campaign while governing?
  9. pappy
    Report Abuse
    pappy - April 17, 2013 8:08 am
    Are we recycling editorials. Can't the star tribune editors come up with something else to write about. Hill has moved on, why can't the Star Tribune?
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