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Superintendent of Public Instruction

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  • Elsie Arntzen

  • Kevin Leatherbarrow

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    Melissa Romano

Biographical Information

Describe your qualifications and experience for the office.

Please explain your reasons for running for this office.

What are the most important challenges facing our state and how do you propose to address them?

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Campaign Phone (406) 564-5130
1. A Master’s in Education and a B.A. English 2. 15 years in teaching. 3. Special Education teacher and background. 4. Educational Services LLC, Business owner.
I'm running because the education system in Montana needs to change.
Special Education, the framework needs to be replaced. I want Vouchers in place to families who need outside help and training. Vouchers would be paid to the place authorized by OPI. Companies apply for the Vouchers, accountability is a must for finance reasons. This would also go to Homeschool families. Online learning is a big challenge around Montana. More training needs to be in place and I'll get that done. The educational achievement is another challenge, students achievent has fallen to record lows. In one Montana city, 80% of students graduated, however the High Schools had a readiness score of only 13.3%. Accountablity! Throwing money at schools does not always result in better achievement.
Campaign Phone (406) 233-9856
Teaching is my life's work and my passion, and we need a leader at the Office of Public Instruction who can bring educational excellence and expertise to the table. Having worked as an educator for 16 years, I am a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s “Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching,” and the recipient of the 2018 Montana Teacher of the Year award. I have spent my professional career mentoring teachers across Montana and the nation, facilitating and creating professional development groups. These experiences have helped me become a collaborative leader and problem solver inside and outside of the classroom and will serve me well as Montana’s next state superintendent.
Montana has a rich history of investing in our students and public schools. Unfortunately, we have not had a strong advocate for our school system at the Office of Public Instruction during the last four years. We need to restore real leadership to the Office of Public Instruction and stand up for our public schools, teachers and students once again.
I care deeply about public preschool, special education funding and mental health. However, as schools grapple with the coronavirus, an even more pressing challenge will be supporting our schools and teachers as they work to help our students get back on track. This will not be easy and will require input from stakeholders, and require an investment in our public school system. We need a leader at the Office of Public Instruction who will make sure our schools and teachers are adequately supported as they navigate these extraordinary challenges, and I am confident my colleagues can turn to me for leadership and support.