Tennessee Watson

Education Reporter

Phone: 307-766-5064
Email: twatso17@uwyo.edu

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-­producing Wage/Working (a jukebox­-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.

Ways to Connect

Photos courtesy of the University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees announced Friday the names of three candidates for acting president. The candidates are UW's former Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs Chris Boswell; former Vice President for Finance and Administration Bill Mai; and current Vice President for Finance and Administration Neil Theobald. 

Albany County

A tense public meeting in Laramie Tuesday morning sparked frustration as elected officials and community members struggle to find common ground following an officer-involved shooting.

All certified peace officers in Wyoming are required to do 40 hours of continuing education every two years. The focus of the training to fulfill that requirement has been left up to local sheriffs and chiefs of police, until last year when Wyoming Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST) instituted a new rule.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

School boards across Wyoming are in the midst of putting together budgets for the coming academic year. While lawmakers took a break from reducing education funding in 2019, they failed to identify new revenue and more stable funding for schools. K-12 education funding saw roughly $100 million in cuts between 2016 and 2018. School boards say they are still absorbing the shock of those cuts.

McCormick Junior High

Laramie County School District #1 issued a statement Friday regarding its investigation into complaints of bullying and harassment at McCormick Junior High.

Wyoming Department of Education

Wyoming is one step closer to teaching computer science in K-12 schools across the state by 2022. A mandate to do so was passed by the state legislature in 2018.

Tennessee Watson

This is the second in a two-part series on this issue. To hear WPR Reporter Melodie Edward's story, click here.

Last year, Wyoming enacted legislation authorizing school districts to teach child sexual abuse prevention. Schools have a unique power to stop sexual abuse because kids spend so much time there. But the bill is not a mandate. It merely says school districts may do prevention work.

U.S. Department of Education

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. For college students, the issue on their campuses remains in flux. Last November, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos unveiled proposed changes to Title IX guidelines pertaining to campus sexual misconduct.

pixabay.com

Parents in Cheyenne told Wyoming Public Radio they heard from school administrators, and through their children that rainbow flags -- a symbol of LGBTQ pride and inclusion -- were being banned in Laramie County School District #1.

wikipedia.org

Laramie County School District #1 is still struggling to respond to racism and homophobia following an incident in late March. Posters attacking gay students and celebrating the Ku Klux Klan were found in the halls of McCormick Junior High in Cheyenne. In response, LGBTQ students and their allies carried Pride flags to send a message of inclusion.

Mike Vananta / http://www.squarestatefilm.com/

The Albany County Commissioners heard public comments Tuesday regarding an officer-involved shooting that occurred November 4, 2018. To accommodate the volume of people who showed up to speak on the issue, the Commissioners moved their meeting to a larger room.

Magellan In Wyoming

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and Wyoming Medicaid is working to help kids with complex behavioral health challenges find local care, instead of being placed in residential psychiatric treatment.


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. While the issue has received more and more attention, sexual assault is a crime that's still chronically under-reported across the nation. Concern about how the criminal justice system will respond is one of the top reasons victims say they don't report.

Tennessee Watson

This week the University of Wyoming announced that President Laurie Nichols will serve out her three-year contract, which ends on June 30. At that point, she'll transition to a faculty position. For many, the news came out of the blue. The 150-word email sent out to faculty, staff and students offered no explanation of the UW Board of Trustees' decision not to renew Nichols' contract.

The announcement came on Monday, just days before a scheduled meeting of the trustees. 

Screenshot provided by Kaycee Cook

According to a statement released by Laramie County School District #1, an incident involving racism and homophobia is under investigation. On Wednesday posters targeting black and LGBTQ students were found on the walls at McCormick Junior High in Cheyenne.

Provided by Wyoming Equality

A Cheyenne junior high was the target of hate speech Wednesday. Racist and homophobic posters discovered at McCormick Junior High have students concerned for their safety.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

High school girls in Wyoming have access to 10 sports, while boys have 11. That's why advocates are pushing for girls softball to be added to the list of sanctioned sports. The Wyoming High School Activities Association will add girls softball as long as eight high schools agree to create teams.

Wyoming Pathways from Prison

For the last three years, Wyoming Pathways from Prison has been offering college courses to incarcerated women and men in Wyoming's five correctional facilities. This week the group is hosting the Transformative Education in Prison and Beyond Symposium at the University of Wyoming.

Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center

A new University of Wyoming office aims to foster stronger connections between faculty, staff, and students, and Wyoming communities. Part of UW's mission as a land grant university is to be useful and helpful to the state.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming announced Monday that President Laurie Nichols will transition to a faculty position when her three-year contract expires on June 30, 2019.

Elected officials haven't had much to say in response to an officer-involved shooting in Albany County. County Attorney Peggy Trent and Undersheriff Josh DeBree held a press conference shortly after the November 4, 2018, incident where Cpl. Derek Colling shot and killed unarmed Laramie-resident Robbie Ramirez. Trent also hosted a press conference in January after a grand jury decided not to indict Colling. She suggested then the county should examine why this happened and how to avoid it in the future.

Joshua Galemore. Agency: Casper Star-Tribune


It's hard to accept, but child sexual abuse can happen in any community. Prosecuting these crimes means that kids have to disclose the details of what happened, and it's easier for them to do so when people are prepared to listen and intervene. Across Wyoming law enforcement, prosecutors and social services are teaming up to support child victims, but it hasn't always been that way.

Screenshot from the Local Government Liability Pool's rules and regulations.

March 10-16, 2019 was Sunshine Week. The annual event recognizes the importance of access to public information, and the journalists who defend a culture of transparency. Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck sat down with reporter Tennessee Watson to talk about what's behind the struggle to get elected officials in Albany County to talk about a recent officer-involved shooting. 

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

This winter, our region has seen heavy snowfall. That can be tough on wildlife.

http://www.uwyo.edu/diversity/today/

As a part of the University of Wyoming's strategic plan, students, staff and faculty are being asked to participate in a survey on diversity and campus climate. 

UW Staff Senate

A recent survey of full-time staff at the University of Wyoming indicates some rely on second jobs and public assistance to make ends meet.

Pages