Archive for the ‘Wyoming’ Category

Brenna Fraser (M.Ed. ’15)

Principal shows up as herself, purple glasses and all
Meet Your Administrator: Brenna Fraser

Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
October 9, 2023

Wyoming — Brenna Fraser is the new principal at Parkview Elementary School. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Administrators.

Brenna Fraser’s Converse sneakers, blazer and big glasses are all shades of purple, matching the decor in her office and the Wyoming Wolves school colors seen on the walls.

It’s her Friday look, she said, describing her personal style and how it helps her connect with students. She has seven pairs of glasses and likes to wear the purple ones to finish off the school week. She sports her red frames when she needs a “fun pop of color.”

“To me, this really comes back to being able to live in a way that you can show up as yourself,” Fraser said, explaining how she wants every student to feel like they belong.

“No matter the personality, we want our scholars to feel like they can be themselves.”

— Parkview Elementary Principal Brenna Fraser
“I’m someone who loves vibrant and colorful. It’s important as leaders that we are also modeling showing up as our true selves, so I try to do that all the way down to the glasses I choose for the day. … Without belonging, we are not going to get very far.”

Here are some other facts about Fraser:

Previous jobs in education:

first- and fourth-grade teacher and instructional coach in Houston, Texas
Instructional coach in all Wyoming Public Schools elementary buildings
Kent ISD early literacy coach

Northview High School graduate
Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Grand Valley State University
Master’s degree in administration from University of Houston

Parkview Principal Brenna Fraser brings her own personal style to school
What would you like to share about your family? “I am a wife and a mom. I’ve been married for five years to Matt, and we have two girls, Bella (1) and Ava (3).”

Describe your leadership style in seven words or less. “Everything is better with a team.”

What do you like about being a principal at an elementary school? “Joy. There is so much joy in being around students and it’s contagious.”

What were you like as a student? “I was shy! It’s definitely been a long journey for me to become a little bit more outgoing.

But another thing that is so amazing (about Wyoming Public Schools) is that no matter the personality, we want our scholars to feel like they can be themselves.”

What are your interests and hobbies? “I love to read, especially now as a mom it’s a staple in our house. I love to play with my kids. I love food!

Your perfect sandwich: “A good, solid BLT is always a good decision, with some thick-cut bacon.”

What else would you like people to know about you? “I know, because I’ve worked here before, that Parkview is an amazing building. It was such a gift to come back and collaborate and lead all of us together. Not everybody has that awareness when they step into an administrative role. I have a lot of gratitude for working with such amazing people. Our hearts are all around our scholars here.”

Lionel “Bud” McDonald (’66)

Bud McDonald left this world for a better place Dec. 30, 2020. He passed away peacefully at Spirit Mountain Hospice House after a year-long battle with heart and kidney disease.
Bud was born Sept. 9, 1942, in Houston, Texas, to Lionel H. McDonald Sr. and Lillian Lahusen McDonald. He graduated from Jesse Jones High School in 1961 and received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1965 and his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1966 from University of Houston.
His first employment was with the City of Houston Planning Department. In Houston, he served on many Architectural Advisory Boards and represented various business to resolve zoning issues.
Bud was a Lifetime Member and Lifetime Committeeman for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, created the Directions and Assistance Committee, BBQ Committee Member and organized food preparation to serve three meals per day for the VIPs and officials for the weeks during rodeo.
In 1970 he met Kathy Modesett and they were married in 1971 in Houston. He worked at various private engineering and land planning firms as a consultant and in the early ’80s joined Dresser Industries as VP of Facilities Planning. He secured land and planned usage for loading docks, warehouse buildings and storage units for the oil fields in the U.S. as well as in foreign countries.
Bud was first introduced to Wyoming in the ’80s while overseeing projects for Dresser in Casper, Rock Springs, Green River and Lysite.
In 1993 when Kathy’s parents were seeking a retirement home, they announced they had found a vacation home in the Cody area. Bud could not believe they wanted to retire in Wyoming as he visualized it being akin to the towns in which he had worked. He and Kathy immediately flew to Cody to see what they could possibly find of interest and at that time also fell in love with the area.
In early 1994 he, Kathy and her parents Louise and Charles Modesett relocated to Cody. Bud did contract work for Campbell and Associates and later joined Engineering Associates where he remained until retirement. He enjoyed serving as a Construction Inspector on various water lines, sewer lagoons and road construction projects in Cody as well as Greybull, Dubois, Thermopolis and surrounding areas. He made many friends and thoroughly enjoyed each and every project.
Through the years Bud was an active member of Cody Optimists, Elks Club, served on the City’s Planning and Zoning Board, Architectural Advisory Committee, Indian Pass Water District, and President of Spirit Mountain Water Company. After his retirement he also assisted Kathy with her “3 Dog Rescue” and fell in love with numerous fosters that came through his home. Bud’s most cherished volunteer position of 13 years, however, was the planning and coordination of volunteers in providing the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. He truly loved the mountains, wildlife, fishing, his many friends and the peaceful surroundings of Wyoming.
Bud leaves his wife of 50 years and was preceded in death by his parents of Metarie, La., and his sister Barbara Currey Jorgensen of Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
He will be remembered for his continual sense of humor, his gift of gab, his dedication to the community and his compassion for mankind. His ashes will be spread in his favorite location on the Beartooth Highway and a Memorial Remembrance will be in the Spring at Jerry Kinkade’s K3 Guest Ranch, where he cooked breakfast and enjoyed many travelers.
We ask in lieu of flowers that donations be made in his memory and sent to the cause he supported so faithfully in his love of animals – “3 Dog Rescue” 228, Spirit Mountain Dr. Cody, WY, 82414.
Condolences can be sent to the family on Bud’s memorial page at

Eric Conrad Branson (’85)

Eric Conrad Branson, 64, passed away in Green River, Wyoming August 28, 2020. Eric was born to William R. and Marianne Branson in Rolla, Missouri. He grew up working side-by-side with his Dad on the family’s homestead. Eric began his engineering education at the University of Missouri Rolla, completing his degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Houston. His family was immensely proud of him as their first-generation college graduate. Eric had a brilliant mind, pursuing his career with passion and excellence, while working for Mobil Oil, Solvay, Williams, and finally as an Independent Contractor with Branson Automation. Eric married Kim Falkenhagen in Houston, TX in 1992. They moved to Green River in 1996, welcoming their son Mark in 1998. The family enjoyed many happy times of camping, shooting, and off-roading in the great outdoors. He had knowledge of just about everything, having conversations with friends covering a myriad of subjects. He especially enjoyed talking with Mark about topics ranging from theoretical physics to politics. Eric had a kind and giving heart, always willing to help others. He had a knack for rescuing stranded friends as well as strangers while off-roading in the Wyoming wilderness. Eric is preceded in death by his parents William and Marianne Branson and his infant brother Ralph David Branson. He is survived by his wife Kim and son Mark of Green River, his sister Karen (Tom) Davis, nephews Lee Davis (Sarah McGehearty), and Lucas Davis, brother-in-law Bill (Kathy) Falkenhagen of Austin, TX, nephew Kyle (Graceann) Falkenhagen of Austin and their children Eloise and Miller, nephew Kurt Falkenhagen of Los Angeles, and sister-in-law Jinx Clark of Casper, along with many friends, especially Courtney, Daniel, and Savannah McCauley. He will be greatly missed. Services will be held at a later date. The family respectfully requests that donations in Eric’s name be made to the future Green River Dog Park by sending donations to Kim Branson. Condolences may be left at

Trey Duvall (M.F.A ’17)

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Nina McConigley (M.F.A. ’06)

Nina McConigley is scheduled to give the University of Wyoming Faculty Senate Speaker Series Talk in November 2019. More…