Sharyl Allen headshot

Sharyl Allen is serving as Deputy Superintendent.

Sharyl is a native Montanan raised in an entrepreneurial environment with ranching as the backbone of her family. Community involvement and pride were firmly instilled by parents who valued work ethic, family, music, and God. Western Montana College provided an exceptional foundation to become an effective teacher. Her MBA was completed at Northern Arizona University, where she also completed post-master’s work in Educational Leadership. Georgetown University’s Urban Educational Leadership certificate was completed in 2015. With 38-years in public education, she has been with the OPI for just over a year first as the Transformational Learning and Montana Advanced Opportunities program manager, and since April 2020 as the Deputy Superintendent.

Contact Sharyl, 406-444-5658.

Lori Strandell headshot

Lori Strandell is our new Senior Office Manager in the Executive Suite.

Lori came to us from the Department of Public Health and Human Services, where she worked for 28 years supporting Montana children through a variety of positions: Compliance Specialist, Regional Manager, and Bureau Chief. She is a 4th generation Montanan and has lived in Helena for the past 7 years. She has a B. S. in Finance from the University of Montana. She is an avid Griz fan, loves camping and traveling. She is excited to continue to serve the children and families of Montana in her new role.

Contact Lori406-444-3160.


Brian O'Leary HeadshotBrian O’Leary is serving as the Communications Director

Brian grew up in Butte and Helena and received his B.A. in Political Science from MSU in 2012. He has worked as a staff member for the majority in the Montana State Senate and on campaigns in Texas and Montana. Most recently, Brian worked as a staff assistant in the Helena office for Senator Steve Daines. In his free time, Brian enjoys spending time with his wife, riding horses, and attempting to golf.

Contact Brian, 406-444-3559.

Robert StutzRob Stutz is serving as the Chief Legal Counsel.

Rob Stutz, Chief Legal Counsel, comes to OPI with legal experience in state and federal government, in private practice, and with a non-profit. His background includes 10+ years in education law, including as legal counsel for the Montana Board of Public Education, at the U.S. Department of Education headquarters, and with the Montana School Boards Association. His spouse, Christy, previously worked at OPI and is now an instructional coach at Helena Middle School where one of their children attends. 

Contact Rob, 406-444-4399.


Autumn Frey headshot

Autumn Frey is serving as Deputy Communications Director.

Autumn was born and raised in Dillon and then moved to Great Falls. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and an A.S. in Business Management. She has experience in a variety of roles ranging from printing to nonprofits and the trucking industry. Autumn and her husband moved to Helena from Billings recently to be closer to family. She is looking forward to seeing more of her children and grandchildren and enjoying the lakes.

Contact Autumn406-444-7325.

Jessica Flint headshotJessica Flint is serving as the Communication Program Specialist.

As a 4th generation Montanan, Jessica comes from a proud family of educators. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Montana, where she met her husband Aaron, a currently serving combat veteran. She has experience in a broad range of industries, stewarding projects for several private and public entities, including four different members of Montana’s congressional delegation. Jessica endeavors to serve all Montanans in all she does, including serving on the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation Board and as a board member for the MetraPark in Yellowstone County.

Contact Jessica, 406-438-3400.


Dr. Trenin Bayless headshotDr. Trenin Bayless is serving as the Project Manager.

Dr. Bayless was raised in Missoula, where he completed an undergraduate degree in physics and came to appreciate the ecological beauty of our state. Dr. Bayless went on to complete a master of science degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. After experiencing the cosmopolitan east coast, he returned to Montana and served as a professor of mathematics at Missoula College for several years. Dr. Bayless recently graduated from Montana Tech with a Ph.D. in materials science. He looks forward to using his skills as a scientist and as an instructor to support Montana’s education system, and is excited to be part of the OPI.

Contact Dr. Bayless, 406-444-3449.

Tristen Belnap headshotTristen Loveridge is serving as the Executive Assistant.

Tristen Belnap was born and raised in Evanston, Wyoming where she developed habits of hard work, a happy mindset, and a continual desire to learn. After graduating high school, she made her way to Montana where she fell in love with the fresh air, mountain views, outdoor activities, and people. Since coming to Montana, Tristen has graduated from Montana State University Billings with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing. Tristen looks forward to supporting the Superintendent, the Office of Public Instruction team, and students of Montana.

Contact Tristen at 406-444-5643.

Patrick Beddow headshotPatrick H. Beddow Sr. is serving as Land Board Advisor

Patrick is a consultant minerals landman from Billings and has been involved with oil, gas, hard minerals, coal and land-title related issues for over 38 years. Using his decades of industry expertise, he advises Superintendent Arntzen in her capacity as Vice-Chair of the Montana Board of Land Commissioners.

Contact Patrick, 406-855-8838