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Gayle Conelly Manchin Appointed to USCIRF

May 4, 2018


Gayle Conelly Manchin Appointed to USCIRF 

WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) on April 19, 2018 appointed Gayle Conelly Manchin to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

“USCIRF welcomes the appointment of Gayle Manchin to the Commission, and we look forward to the work she will do in the years ahead on the pressing challenges to religious freedom around the globe,” said USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark. “Given these challenges, it is critically important that Congress and the administration continue to make the necessary appointments to the Commission, thereby allowing us to continue to fulfill our mandate of advancing religious freedom through U.S. foreign policy.”

As an educator, Gayle Manchin worked in Marion County Schools at the secondary level, served on the faculty of Fairmont State University in Developmental Education and was the Director of the university’s first Community Service Learning Program.

From January 2005 until November 2010, Gayle served as West Virginia’s First Lady where she served as the official hostess of the Governor’s Mansion and an advocate for West Virginia children and families. In addition, she was appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the State Board of Education, where she just completed her tenure as President. She is the Chair of the Board for Reconnecting McDowell, an American Federation of Teachers’ initiative serving rural West Virginia, is a past president of the Vandalia Rotary Club of Charleston, and as an Emeritus Member of The Education Alliance. She served for one year as the Cabinet Secretary for the Office of Education and the Arts.

From 2000-2004, she directed the AmeriCorps Promise Fellows in West Virginia and through the Secretary of Education and the Arts, implemented a statewide initiative, WV Partnerships to Assure Student Success. On the national level, Gayle Manchin is a Past-President of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).  She was appointed by Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan to the Federal Improvement for Post-Secondary Education Board in 2010.  Gayle Manchin is also a member of the Board of Trustees of The Ford Theatre in Washington, DC.

She has spoken both at a state and national level on challenges of rural education, poverty, and the responsibility and accountability of teachers, principals, students and parents in raising student achievement. Gayle Manchin attended West Virginia University, where she attained her Bachelor of Arts in Language Arts and Education and a Master of Arts in Reading, and a second master’s specialization in Educational Technology Leadership from Salem International University.

Comprised of nine commissioners, USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal body that is principally responsible for reviewing the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and making policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. The President and leadership of both political parties in the Senate and House of Representatives appoint USCIRF Commissioners.  


To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Isaac Six, Associate Director of Congressional Affairs (ISix@USCIRF.gov +1-202-786-0606).