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Cindy Hill

CHEYENNE, Wyo.— The morning after winning election to the state's top education office, Cindy Hill received a homework assignment at her door.

Hill said a member of the state Department of Education staff delivered materials Wednesday morning with organizational charts, programs and other information for her to go over before she takes office in January.

"People are eager to get going, and I am too," she said. "I'm eager to engage and start the work."

Hill, a Republican, beat Democrat Mike Massie, of Laramie, decisively in Tuesday's election. Hill collected 61 percent of the vote to Massie's 39 percent, according to unofficial returns.

Hill will take over the office from Jim McBride, whom she beat in the Republican primary in August.

Hill said McBride had called Wednesday morning but she was unable to immediately talk to him because of a slew of other calls coming in.

The two had not talked since the primary, Hill said, and she looked forward to visiting the agency and working with McBride on the transition.

"That will be really important because really it's still his place, and I want to be respectful," she said. "And so I'll see what he thinks and coordinate that with him."

Mary Kay Hill, director of administration for the state Education Department, said that McBride was away from the office Wednesday on personal time but that he has instructed his staff to assist Hill in every way.

McBride also instructed his staff to finish the work that needed to be completed before the end of the year, such as helping the state Legislature reset state financial aid to districts, and continue their daily task of running the agency.

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Hill said one of her first duties as superintendent will be setting about the task of revamping the state's student assessment test.

The Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students has come under much criticism because of the time it takes away from classroom instruction and problems administering it. The test is designed to measure student performance in English, math, reading and science.

"We have to do something with PAWS," said Hill, a former Cheyenne junior high school assistant principal.

Another issue to be addressed is the demand that districts be held accountable for low student testing results despite the state investing more than $1 billion in elementary and secondary education every two years, she said.

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