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Governing Board

REL Central's Governing Board comprises a diverse group of education leaders from each of the seven states in our region.

The Governing Board convenes three times a year to provide input on REL Central's projects and help to identify
high-priority needs in the region.

REL Central's Governing Board is led by
Chair Catherine Palmer of the
Wyoming Department of Education.

group photo of the board members

Governing Board Members


  • Katy Anthes, Commissioner of Education, Colorado Department of Education
  • Dan Jorgensen, Accountability and Research Manager, Colorado Department of Education
  • Caryn Gibson, Superintendent, Delta County School District 50J
  • Ken Haptonstall, Executive Director, Colorado River BOCES
  • Norm Alerta, Assessment and Evaluation Director, Cherry Creek School District


  • Randy Watson, Commissioner of Education, Kansas State Department of Education
  • Kelly Spurgeon, Analyst, Kansas State Department of Education
  • Brian Smith, Superintendent, Fredonia Unified School District


  • Margi Vandeven, Commissioner of Education, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Jim Masters, Director, Educator Evaluation and Training, Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
  • John Downs, Superintendent, Hallsville R-VI School District
  • Wayne Stewart, Superintendent, Glenwood R-8 School District


  • Matt Blomstedt, Commissioner of Education, Nebraska Department of Education
  • Dean Folkers, Information Systems Officer, Nebraska Department of Education
  • Zainab Rida, Equity Officer, Nebraska Department of Education

North Dakota

  • Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
  • Laurie Matzke, Assistant Superintendent, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
  • Andrew Jordan, Superintendent, Wilton Public Schools

South Dakota

  • Tiffany Sanderson, Secretary of Education, South Dakota Department of Education
  • Mary Stadick Smith, Deputy Secretary, South Dakota Department of Education
  • Carla Leingang, Administrator, Certification and Teacher Quality
  • Jennifer Lowery, Superintendent, Tea Area School District


  • Jillian Balow, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Wyoming Department of Education
  • Dicky Shanor, Chief of Staff, Wyoming Department of Education
  • Catherine Palmer, Education Consultant, Assessment, Wyoming Department of Education
  • Jim Wagner, Superintendent, Johnston County School District 1