Two former Democratic governors endorsed Democrat Mike Ceballos for Superintendent of Public Instruction at a news conference at the Parkway Plaza on Friday.

"He should be the next superintendent," said Dave Freudenthal, who was elected in 2002 and served from 2003 to early 2011.

"This state has had an incredibly painful run of relationships between the districts, between the elected officials, between the Legislature and the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office," Freudenthal said.

Ceballos is running against Republican Jillian Balow. Both are running for the position being vacated by former Superintendent Cindy Hill, who unsuccessfully ran in the recent Republican Party's primary for governor.

Hill's controversial tenure was marked by poor relations with her employees, questionable uses of federal funds, and a law that stripped her of most of her duties that was later overturned by the Wyoming Supreme Court.

That legacy was not far from the comments made Friday.

"I believe there should be a superintendent of public instruction," Freudenthal said. "But it takes somebody who's prepared to lead, to lead in a nonpartisan sense, and to recognize what that job is."

Mike Sullivan, who was elected in 1986 and served from 1987 to early 1995, said Ceballos is committed to Wyoming, passionate about education, and maintains high business and ethical standards.

Ceballos has been the chairman of the Wyoming Business Alliance and the Wyoming Taxpayers Associations, which could be regarded as conservative organizations, Sullivan said.

In other words, Ceballos can work with people from all walks of life and policy persuasions, he said.

"It is a job that requires collaboration; it is a job that requires maturity and understanding of the state," Sullivan said. "It is a job that just doesn't involve the Superintendent of Public Instruction and its office. It involves the Governor the Legislature, teachers, administrators, parents and most importantly children."

Caballos worked for, and was later president of Qwest Wyoming, has worked with numerous economic development and education organizations.

He said he's not been tempted to run a negative campaign, and acknowledged that being a Democrat on the ballot is the "elephant in the room" that voters may hold against him.

As he has traveled around the state, having visited nearly all the district, he said the most recurrent and troubling thing people tell him is that school districts no longer call the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office for help.

"That's just revealing in so many ways," Ceballos said.

"We can't get to where we need to be when we're arguing all the time," he said.