#WHYoming: Shane Steiss


Welcome to our series, #WHYoming, brought to you in partnership by Kaumo Law.

We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?

This week I had a chat with Shane Steiss.  Shane has been a painting and pottery teacher at Green River High School for the past 11 years.

“It has been nothing short of amazing,” he said.

Aside from his teaching, Shane is also a professional painter. His work can be seen around the state of Wyoming, displayed in Government and public buildings in Cheyenne, Laramie and Rock Springs.

“I love painting in oils and my work has always centered around the interactions of my family and nature,” Shane said. “The themes in my work are most commonly aspen trees, rivers and portraits.”

“Most importantly, I am a dad and and husband,” he said. “I have a beautiful, funny and kind wife and three amazing kids.”

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Shane, how did you end up in Green River?

I am a Wyoming boy. Green River has always been home!

I grew up in Green River and attended both WWCC and UW where I majored in Art Education. From their I taught a year in Gillette and then was lucky enough to get hired back in Green River at the High School as a painting and pottery teacher.

Teaching at the high school in Green River was my dream job sense I had art classes in their as a student.

What is something unique about you?

I enjoy fly fishing and painting outdoors.

I love fly fishing because of the focus it requires. I have to devote all of my energy on watching the fly and making an accurate cast. I guess it just makes the rest of the world disappear. At that moment the only thing that matters is the fly.

I cant give away my secret spots. If I did I wouldn’t be a true fisherman.

Painting outdoors is similar. It requires all my attention and the only thing that matters is the area I am focusing on. It gives me time to notice things about a place that I would miss if I was passing through. I get to examine the details and see why something looks the way it does.


What do you appreciate most about our community?

The kind people and the public land.

I like the fact that when I walk into a business the people know me and say something like “Your Jim’s boy aren’t you.” It makes it feel like we are one big family and not just a town.

The public lands allow us to be sportsman without having to pay for access on someones ranch. The land is for everyone and I am not excluded. We all own the land and I feel that folks around here try and preserve those spaces for the next generation.

When I have visited places that have limited access for fishing or hunting because its all private I feel boxed in and when I’m here I feel free and able to be myself.


If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t be a grown up they are boring.


Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?

Floating the Green River or hiking through an aspen patch.

I’ve always been drawn to aspen tree’s. A lot of great childhood memories came from hunting and camping in the mountains. I like to find all the colors in the bark.


People sometimes only see the white of the tree and miss out on all the hidden beauty. …

— Shane Steiss

I also like the fact that most aspen groves are actually only one tree interconnected by the roots. And don’t get me started about aspens in the fall, there is simply not a more beautiful thing in the world.


Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse or drive a car?

Always walk otherwise I miss things.

What would you sing at karaoke night?

I’m going with some old country, probably George Strait.

I just like George and I would have to be forced to do it in the first place.

How would your friends describe you?

Weird tall guy with a square head.

Oh yes, its referred to as the “Steiss head,” all the men in my family have big heads.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Being a father of three smart and kind kids.

I am around kids all the time as a teacher and I have always appreciated kids that show compassion and are willing to help out their classmates and I feel that my kids are that way.

I have kids that love to learn and want to make the world a better place. They are awesome!!


Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

I guess the actor that played Neapolitan Dynamite, he seems dorky enough.

He is himself, he is a dork and unapologetic and I feel that I am an art nerd and I get excited about art supplies, pottery firing techniques and the smell of oil paint.


Why do you continue to live in Wyoming?

My family is here, the people are nice, I have public land to hunt and fish on, and their aren’t too many people.

I feel blessed everyday that I get to live here in Green River with my awesome family, go to work at my dream job and spend time in our wild places.


If you’d like us to interview yourself or someone you know for #WHYoming, please send us suggestions to Lillian@sweetwaternow.com