Educators for Melissa Romano

By 
Guest Commentary
Thursday, September 10, 2020

We are a group of educators that collectively worked for more than 160 years at the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) for five state superintendents of both political parties. We are proud of the role that OPI has had in supporting local public schools and in providing leadership to ensure our Montana schools offer the best public education available anywhere.

Melissa Romano is the candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction that we believe has the energy, expertise, and vision needed to lead public education in Montana. Romano is an experienced Montana public school teacher, the Montana Teacher of the Year for 2018, a nationally recognized educator, and mom of four. We are confident Romano would understand how her decisions as State Superintendent would impact our children in their classrooms. She will advocate for our public schools to ensure the Montana Constitutional requirement that every child has access to a quality public education. That’s why we, and other educators we know, support her for State Superintendent.

The current State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen has failed to provide leadership and vision to implement coherent policies that maintain the excellence of Montana public education.

• Arntzen has driven away outstanding staff who were leaders in critical areas such as Special Education, Title I and other federal programs, preschool education, curriculum development, and programs to enhance educator skills and expertise.

• She hired several experienced school administrators into leadership positions that each lasted only a short time.

• This exodus of critical staff has resulted in a lack of consistent leadership, confusion, and disjointed implementation of policies and programs important to local school districts.

• Arntzen is not a strong advocate for public education, remaining silent on school funding during the 2019 legislative session.

• She publicly promotes school privatization, potentially diminishing funding for public schools.

• The OPI no longer collaborates with other state agencies that share responsibilities for programs that serve Montana’s children, such as the Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Governor’s Office, in early childhood and preschool programs, depriving local communities of much needed services.

It is critical for the State Superintendent to articulate and advocate for public education. To be a successful advocate, the Superintendent needs to identify her priorities and make her case for students, educators, and families. That is what Montanans expect, and this is what Melissa Romano will deliver.

It is time to ensure competent, focused leadership for our students and their families, teachers, administrators, board trustees, and taxpayers. Melissa Romano will lead our way back to excellence for public education in Montana. Please join us in supporting Melissa Romano for Superintendent of Public Instruction in November.

Susan Bailey-Anderson

BJGranbery

Karin Billings

Nancy Coopersmith

Cheri Bergeron

Joan Morris

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