Print this Page

Press Release

Saturday, November 19, 2016

CCSSO Welcomes New President and Board of Directors

Contact:Melissa McGrathmelissa.mcgrath@ccsso.org202-336-7034

Baltimore, Md. (November 19, 2016) -- The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today announced its 2016-2017 Board of Directors. Elections took place during the 2016 Annual Policy Forum in Baltimore.

Melody Schopp, Secretary of Education in South Dakota, assumed the role of CCSSO president, and Carey Wright, Superintendent of Education in Mississippi, was chosen as president-elect.

CCSSO members re-elected Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner in Minnesota, to a new three-year term. In addition, CCSSO members elected three new Board Members:

  • Tony Smith, Superintendent of Education, Illinois (Term ending 2019)
  • Stephen Pruitt, Commissioner of Education, Kentucky (Term ending 2018)
  • Jillian Balow, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Wyoming (Term ending 2018)

These new Board members will join President Melody Schopp, President-Elect Carey Wright, Past-President Tony Evers and current Board members New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry and New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera, whose terms end in 2017.

CCSSO's Board of Directors manages the overall business affairs of the Council and is the governing body of the organization. The board is composed of the president, the president-elect, the past president, and six directors elected by the members from the CCSSO membership.

"The Board of Directors serves a critical role in driving the collective action of the Council of Chief State School Officers," said Executive Director Chris Minnich. "I look forward to working with our new President Melody Schopp and all the members of the Board to elevate the teaching profession and continue to ensure all students - regardless of background - graduate prepared for college, careers and life."

Schopp said, "I am humbled by this opportunity and look forward to serving in this new role. CCSSO provides a forum for education leaders from across the country to come together and identify solutions to common challenges. Over the next year, I look forward to working with all state chiefs to address the challenges facing our education workforce today and develop strategies every state can consider to attract the teachers we need and support our teachers currently in the classroom."

The following is a list of CCSSO's 2016-2017 Board of Directors:

  • President: Melody Schopp, South Dakota
  • President-Elect: Carey Wright, Mississippi
  • Past President: Tony Evers, Wisconsin
  • Board Member: Virginia Barry, New Hampshire
  • Board Member: Hanna Skandera, New Mexico
  • Board Member: Stephen Pruitt, Kentucky
  • Board Member: Jillian Balow, Wyoming
  • Board Member: Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota
  • Board Member: Tony Smith, Illinois


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.