West Virginia’s new Secretary of the Department of Education and the Arts & the former President, Board of Education, 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.
She has also served as Director of the AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Program in West Virginia 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.
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.
In 2007, Manchin was appointed to the West Virginia Board of Education from 2007 to 2015. She served two terms as the Board of Education's vice president. On July 10, 2013, Manchin was elected President of the West Virginia Board of Education for a two-year term.
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. Eleven states created laws to require schools to stock EpiPens, made by Mylan pharmaceuticals, leading to a "near monopoly" of Mylin's epinephrine autoinjector in the school health sector. The article noted the potential for a conflict of interest, as Mylin's CEO, Heather Bresch, is Manchin's daughter.
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. 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.