Gayle Conelly Manchin

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Gayle Conelly Manchin
GayleCManchin (cropped).jpg
West Virginia Secretary of Education and the Arts
In office
January 16, 2017 – March 12, 2018
GovernorJim Justice
Preceded byKay Goodwin
Succeeded byClayton Burch (acting)
President of the West Virginia Board of Education
In office
July 2013 – 2014
First Lady of West Virginia
In role
January 17, 2005 – November 15, 2010
GovernorJoe Manchin
Preceded bySandra Wise
Succeeded byJoanne Tomblin
Personal details
Gayle Conelly

(1947-06-20) June 20, 1947 (age 73)
Beckley, West Virginia, U.S.
(m. 1967)
Children3, including Heather
Alma materWest Virginia University
Salem International University

Gayle Conelly Manchin (born June 20, 1947) is an American educator, politician, former First Lady of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010, and a former member of the West Virginia Board of Education from 2007–2015, having served for 2 years as the board's President. Manchin served as the West Virginia Secretary of Education and the Arts from 2017 until her termination in March 2018. She is the wife of former Governor and current U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Gayle Manchin was raised in Beckley, West Virginia and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. She received both her Bachelor of Arts in language arts and education, and a Master of Arts in reading (now known as the masters in literacy education), from West Virginia University.[2][3] In 1999, she received a second master's degree in educational technology leadership from Salem International University.[3][4]

In 1967, Gayle Conelly married Manchin, with whom she had three children, Heather, Joseph IV, and Brooke, and settled in Fairmont, West Virginia.


Manchin is a career educator. She has worked as a teacher in the Marion County Public School district and a faculty member at Fairmont State University, where she established the university's inaugural Community Service Learning Program.[3][5]

She has also served as Director of the AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Program in West Virginia.[4] Additionally, Machin worked for the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts, where she established the West Virginia Partnerships to Assure Student Success initiative (WV PASS).[3]

Gayle Manchin held the position of First Lady of West Virginia from 2005 until 2010 during her husband's term as the state's governor. During her tenure as First Lady, Manchin simultaneously served as the chairperson of the West Virginia Citizen’s Council on Children and Families and Governor’s Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, co-chair of the Governor’s 21st Century Jobs Cabinet and the Intellectual Infrastructure of Vision Shared, and a member of the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service.[4][3]

In 2007, Manchin was appointed to the West Virginia Board of Education from 2007 to 2015.[2][3] She served two terms as the Board of Education's vice president.[2] On July 10, 2013, Manchin was elected President of the West Virginia Board of Education for a two-year term.[2][6]

In 2016, Manchin was the subject of some controversy when USA Today, a national newspaper, published an article noting that Manchin, upon becoming Board of Education president in 2012, spearheaded a campaign for states to require schools to purchase EpiPens and other medical supplies.[7] Eleven states created laws to require schools to stock EpiPens, made by Mylan pharmaceuticals, leading to a "near monopoly" of Mylan's epinephrine autoinjector in the school health sector.[7] The article noted the potential for a conflict of interest, as Mylan's CEO, Heather Bresch, is Manchin's daughter.

West Virginia Secretary of Education and the Arts[edit]

Incoming Governor of West Virginia Jim Justice appointed Manchin to his cabinet as the state's Secretary of Education and the Arts on January 13, 2017. Manchin succeeded outgoing Secretary of Education Kay Goodwin, who was retiring from the office.[3] The Secretary for Education and the Arts oversees a collection of six state agencies, including West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the West Virginia Library Commission, the Division of Culture and History, Volunteer West Virginia, the state Center for Professional Development, and the Division of Rehabilitation Services.

After the passage of HB 4006, a bill that would dissolve the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, in the West Virginia Legislature, Manchin called on Justice to veto the legislation.[8] Manchin also offered to resign and "remove any political cloud," though days later, she was removed from office by Justice, leaving the office of Department Secretary vacant.[9][10]


On April 19, 2018, Manchin was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).[11] As Vice Chair, she has spoken out on behalf of Iranian prisoner Mohammad Ali Taheri.[12][13] After the January 27, 2019, bombing of the Jolo Cathedral in the Philippines, in an interview on EWTN News Nightly, she expressed disapproval of Rodrigo Duterte's prior "angry, violent language" against Church leaders.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Office of the Governor of West Virginia. "Justice Appoints Gayle Manchin To Be Secretary For The Department of Education And The Arts". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Gayle Manchin Elected President of the WVBE". West Virginia Department of Education. July 11, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g McElhinny, Brad (January 13, 2017). "Gayle Manchin picked for Education and the Arts post". West Virginia MetroNews. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Biography of West Virginia First Lady Gayle Conelly Manchin" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 18, 2008.
  5. ^ Morris, Jeffrey (January 13, 2017). "Gayle Manchin named West Virginia Secretary of Department of Education and the Arts". WCHS. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  6. ^ Maunz, Shay (July 10, 2013). "Gayle Manchin heading state Board of Education". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  7. ^ a b O'Donnell, Jayne (September 20, 2016). "Family matters: EpiPens had high-level help getting into schools". USA Today. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  8. ^ WVNews. "Gayle Manchin calls for Justice to veto bill dissolving Education and the Arts". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  9. ^ USA Today. "W.Va. Gov. Justice fires former first lady Gayle Manchin over arts, education bill". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  10. ^ POLITICO. "West Virginia governor sacks Gayle Manchin, head of arts and culture agency". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "Gayle Conelly Manchin Appointed to USCIRF". May 4, 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  12. ^ "Open Letter from USCIRF Vice Chair Gayle Manchin to Mohammad Ali Taheri". December 21, 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  13. ^ "USCIRF Vice Chair Gayle Manchin Calls for Immediate Release of Iranian Prisoner of Conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri". January 25, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  14. ^ "Analysis of the terror attack during Catholic Mass in the Philippines – ENN 2019-01-28", EWTN on YouTube. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
Political offices
Preceded by
Kay Goodwin
West Virginia Secretary of Education and the Arts
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sandra Wise
First Lady of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Joanne Tomblin