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 Sharyl406-444-5658.

Jake GriffithJake Griffith is serving as the Chief Legal Counsel.

Jacob’s legal experience representing children led him to join the Office of Public instruction. He brings to the office a breadth of experience in management and litigation experience. He began his legal career in Hillsboro, Oregon in a private law firm specializing in juvenile law. In 2015 he became a shareholder in his firm in Oregon, but eventually he and his wife, a native Montanan, decided it was time to move their family back to Montana. Prior to joining OPI he was a prosecutor in the Lewis and Clark County Attorney’s Office focusing on felony prosecutions. Jacob attended the University of Montana and completed his undergraduate studies with a B.A. in Political Science. Directly after completing his undergraduate degree he began law school graduating from the University of Montana School of Law. When not at work, you will find him spending time with his family enjoying all the outdoor activities Montana has to offer.

Contact Jake, 406-444-4399*.



Brian O'Leary HeadshotBrian O’Leary is serving as the Executive Assistant/Deputy 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.


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 Belnap 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