Montana demonstrates the high value it places on educating our children, by electing a State Superintendent for K-12 public education who is accountable directly to Montana citizens. The people of Montana have elected a State Superintendent of Instruction as one of the five members of the Executive Branch since 1889.
By law, the State Superintendent has general supervision of the K-12 public schools and districts. The State Superintendent also serves as a member of the Land Board, the State Library Commission, and as an ex-officio non-voting member of the Board of Public Education, and the Board of Regents for the University System.
Elected in 2016 to a four-year term, Elsie Arntzen is the current State Superintendent. Arntzen is a 4th generation Montanan from Billings. She is the daughter of two Montana public school teachers and she taught 5th and 6th grade in Billings Public Schools for 23 years. She has degrees in Economics and Education from the University of Montana and Montana State University respectively. In addition to her teaching career, she served in the Montana Legislature for 12 years. She served four terms in the Montana House of Representatives from 2005 to 2013 and one term in the Montana Senate from 2013 until she was sworn in as Superintendent of Public Instruction on January 2, 2017. She is the proud mother of two daughters and grandmother of four grandchildren. She has been married to her high school sweetheart Steve for 41 years.
With her strong background in public education, she is honored to serve as Superintendent of Montana’s public schools and it is her mission to put Montana students first at the Office of Public Instruction. She is accomplishing this through four key initiatives: Montana Hope, which is the whole child approach to education; Montana Teach, which promotes teacher leaders; Montana Learn, which focuses on academic achievement; and Montana Ready, which prepares students to be community, college, and career ready.