Chair - West Virginia Public Education Collaborative
Gayle Conelly Manchin attended West Virginia University, where she attained her Bachelor of Arts in Language Arts and Education and a Master of Arts in Reading, and a second master’s specialization in Educational Technology Leadership from Salem International University. She was appointed by Governor Jim Justice to serve as Cabinet Secretary for the Office of Education and the Arts within his administration.
As an educator, Gayle worked in Marion County Schools at the secondary level, served on the faculty of Fairmont State University in Developmental Education and was the Director of the university’s first Community Service Learning Program. From 2000-2004, she directed the AmeriCorps Promise Fellows in WV and through the Secretary of Education and the Arts, implemented a statewide initiative, WVPASS (WV Partnerships to Assure Student Success).
From January 2005 until November 2010, Gayle served as West Virginia’s First Lady and the official hostess of the Governor’s Mansion where she was an advocate for West Virginia children and families. In addition, she was appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the State Board of Education, where she completed her tenure in 2015 after serving as President for her last two years. She is the Chair of the Board for Reconnecting McDowell, an AFT initiative serving rural WV, is a past president of the Vandalia Rotary Club of Charleston, and currently serves on the Clay Center Advisory Board, Vision Shared and as an Emeritus Member of The Education Alliance. In addition, she serves on the REL Appalachia Governing Board.
On the national level, Gayle is a Past-President of the National State Boards of Education (NASBE). She served by appointment of Sec. of Education, Arne Duncan to the FIPSE (Federal Improvement for Post-Secondary Education) Board from 2010-2014, and is a current member of the International Friendship Club and the Senate Spouses Organization in Washington, DC. Gayle is also a member of the Board of Director’s for Horton’s Kids, a non-profit organization serving at-risk youth in Washington, DC. She has spoken both at a state and national level on challenges of rural education, poverty, and our responsibility to intersect economic development with education through collaboration with the Governor’s STEM and STEAM initiatives.
While at WVU, Gayle met and married Joe Manchin, III, elected as US Senator from West Virginia, to fill the unexpired term of Senator Robert C Byrd in 2010, and re-elected in 2012 for a full term. Joe and Gayle have been married for 50 years and have three children and ten grandchildren.