Skip to main content

Bob Wise, Former Governor of West Virginia, Joins Alliance for Excellent Education as New President

Wise brings passion for education reform and coalition building expertise to help ensure every child in America graduates from high school prepared for success

Bob Wise, former West Virginia governor and nine-term member of Congress, has been named president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, effective immediately. The announcement was made by Dan Leeds, the Alliance’s Board Chair.

“Bob Wise has demonstrated a commitment to education and the leadership to make real change,” says Leeds. “His considerable skills and experience combine with the Alliance’s outstanding research and advocacy efforts for a powerful message to the nation – every American child must be a high school graduate prepared for success in life.”

“Education is the key to success for our students and our country,” Wise says. “Without focusing funding and resources toward reform, this nation faces a serious crisis. During my terms as governor and member of Congress, it became very clear to me that lack of education is the root of so many of our nation’s challenges. I am very excited to have the Alliance for Excellent Education, a respected and effective proponent of school reform, as my partner as I dedicate this new phase in my career to better education for all American children.”

As governor of West Virginia from 2001-2005, Wise fought for and signed legislation to fund the PROMISE Scholarship Program, which helped thousands of West Virginia students stay in the Mountain State to attend college. By the time he left office, the number of West Virginians completing high school and attending college had risen to the national average. Wise also established a character education curriculum in all state schools and created the Governor’s Helpline for Safer Schools.

During Wise’s administration, West Virginia saw a significant increase in its NAEP scores: fourth-grade math scores rose by eight points and eighth graders improved by five points. By 2003, the number of West Virginia’s eighth graders scoring at the highest level of the NAEP writing exam had jumped by 17 percent. West Virginia currently has the highest rate of increase of high school students taking upper-level math courses.

In 2001, Governor Wise proposed salary bonuses for teachers who achieve National Board Certification, which helped triple the rate of certified teachers in the state. And Education Week’s 2004 Quality Counts report gave West Virginia its highest cumulative grade of all fifty states.

Before assuming the governorship, Wise spent two years as a state senator and eighteen years as a member of the United States House of Representatives. While in Congress, he served in his party’s leadership as an at-large whip, a regional whip, and parliamentarian. He also was a ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Wise earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 1970 and a Juris Doctorate from Tulane University College of Law in 1975. He lives with his wife Sandy and their two children in Washington, D.C.

# # #

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC.-based policy, research and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.

For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit: