Twenty-two years ago, the day his second child was born, Bruce Palmer got the call. He was offered a job leading the admission office at NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School. Two days later, the decision to move to Lander, Wyoming was made. He left behind an 11-year career in college admissions, most recently the role of associate director of admission at Case Western Reserve University. To this day, Palmer remains dedicated to education. In addition to his work for NOLS, he has served six years on the Fremont County School District 1 school board, two as board chair. He has been instrumental in developing and promoting the district’s first strategic plan, resource allocation plan, and improved graduation requirements within the school district in Lander. This commitment to high standards, belief that every child can learn, and support of the district’s teachers and staff are reaping results with both test scores and graduation rates improving. Palmer’s faith in future generations has led him to devote time to Boy Scouts of America, the Lander Baseball Association, Sunday School teaching, volunteering in FCSD 1 classrooms, and the National Forum on Children and Nature.
On the day after Halloween in 1990, Palmer left Cleveland in shorts and a t-shirt. When he arrived in Lander, the valley had sunk into an inversion and negative 30 degrees. Though surprised and cold, the lifelong outdoorsman thought he had arrived in heaven. An avid hunter, most fall days will find Palmer afield following his English setter searching for pheasants or chukar partridge. When the roads are clear, he is “two-wheeling” averaging about 150 miles per week on his bicycle enjoying the Lander Valley’s highways and backroads.
Palmer was fortunate enough to make Lander his home thanks to a job opening with NOLS, one of Fremont County’s largest employers; since 1996 he has filled the role
of director of admission and marketing. In his capacity as part of the six-person senior leadership team, he has helped NOLS grow from a school that served 2,200 students annually to an international nonprofit educational organization that reaches over 17,000 students each year in 30 countries. Over the years, Palmer has managed budgets of varying depth, economic climates of varying strength, and investments in long-term goals, experience he now hopes to bring to the Wyoming House of Representatives.
Palmer and his wife, Peg, a registered nurse and manager with Amedisys Home Care, have raised three Wyoming boys. Their oldest son, Clay, is a student at the University of Wyoming studying rangeland ecology. He shoots better and casts more precisely than his dad, although Palmer would never admit that. Cole, the child born the day Palmer was offered his job in Lander, is a 2012 graduate of Casper College with a diesel tech certification. Cole and his wife, Cortney, have a 1-year-old daughter. Loren is a 2012 graduate of Pathfinder High School in Lander and will be attending the University of Wyoming in the fall. He is a stalwart at Mr. D’s—the really nice kid at the checkout counter. While his children pursue their education, Palmer is continuing his. He is just completing the Ellbogen Leadership and Advocacy Institute, a program designed to build capacity among the state’s educational community to promote and improve education. The program has given Palmer access to legislators and policymakers from around the state to discuss issues affecting our schools.
This year, Palmer has decided to run for the Legislature because he believes his experience in public office, long history of public service, business experience, and love for Wyoming will enable him to make the best difference for the state. He recognizes the state is doing many things right and facing many significant issues. State revenue is falling due to declining gas prices; despite investing in education, the state isn’t yet seeing the results we would like; Wyoming has a number of health and infrastructure needs that demand attention soon. Palmer is looking forward to the next chapter in his life in which he will use his experience, expertise, understanding, and reasonable approach to attend to these matters and improve the state of Wyoming.
View Palmer’s Résumé