Bob Wise is president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. Under Governor Wise’s leadership, the Alliance continues to build its reputation as a respected authority on high school policy by advocating for reform in America’s secondary education system and working to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college, careers, and to be contributing members of society.
Since joining the Alliance in February 2005, Governor Wise has become a sought-after speaker and advisor on education issues. He has delivered keynote addresses at high-level functions to core groups of the education community, state and federal government entities, as well as business, philanthropic, civil rights, and community organizations—all with a stake in education reform. Governor Wise has also advised the U.S. Department of Education, White House Transition Team, and frequently testifies before the U.S. Congress
As governor of West Virginia from 2001 to 2005, he fought for and signed legislation to fund the PROMISE Scholarship program, which has helped thousands of West Virginia high school graduates continue their education in the Mountain State. Governor Wise also established a character education curriculum in all state schools and created the Governor’s Helpline for Safer Schools. During his administration, West Virginia saw a significant increase in the number of students completing high school and entering college.
In 2001, Governor Wise proposed salary bonuses for teachers who achieve National Board certification. The proposal was passed and, as a result, helped triple the rate of certified teachers in the state. Additionally, Education Week’s “Quality Counts 2004” report gave West Virginia the highest cumulative grade out of all fifty states. As governor, he was also the first West Virginian to chair the Southern Governors’ Association.
From 1983 to 2001, Governor Wise served in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 2nd District of West Virginia. During his tenure, he worked aggressively to preserve federal financial aid for students to attend college. For several terms, he was a member of the Democratic Party Leadership team as a regional whip and as a whip-at-large. Committee assignments during these eighteen years included Transportation and Infrastructure, Government Reform and Organization, and Budget. Governor Wise’s notable congressional accomplishments include the Chemical Right to Know legislation, the Wise Amendment to the Clean Air Act, and the first-ever federal Mental Health Parity legislation.
Governor Wise earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a JD from Tulane University School of Law. He has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He and his wife Sandy live in Washington, DC with their two children.