Denise Juneau

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Denise Juneau
Denise Juneau, Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction 5.3.2010.jpg
Superintendent of Public Instruction of the state of Montana
Assumed office
January 2009
Preceded by Linda McCulloch
Personal details
Born (1967-04-05) April 5, 1967 (age 49)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Residence Helena, Montana
Alma mater Montana State University (B.A.)
Harvard University (M.Ed.)
University of Montana (J.D.)
Profession Teacher and attorney

Denise Juneau (born April 5, 1967)[1] is an American politician from the U.S. state of Montana elected as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.[2] The State Superintendent of Public Instruction heads the Montana Office of Public Instruction. A member of the Democratic Party, Juneau is the first American Indian woman to be elected to statewide executive office in Montana.[3][4] She is an enrolled member of the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes, and descendant of the Blackfeet Tribe.[5]

On November 4, 2015, Juneau announced her candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in the 2016 congressional election, against freshman incumbent Ryan Zinke.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Denise Juneau was born on April 5, 1967, in Oakland, California, to parents Stan and Carol Juneau.[1] Her family moved to Montana in 1969. Juneau graduated from Browning High School in Browning, Montana in 1985.[1]

Juneau received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Montana State University in 1993. In 1994, she completed her Master of Education Degree at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She took course work toward a doctorate at the University of New Mexico in 1997 and 1998. Juneau then attended the University of Montana Law School, completing her J.D. in 2004.[1] In 2010, Carroll College awarded Juneau an Honorary Doctorate.[7]

Early career[edit]

Juneau was on the educational support staff of Browning, Montana schools from 1986 through 1988. She was a high school teacher in New Town, North Dakota, from 1994 through 1995, and in Browning, Montana, from 1995 through 1997.[1]

Juneau was an instructional specialist at the Montana Office of Public Instruction under Superintendent Nancy Keenan from 1998 through 2001. While at the Montana Office of Public Instruction, Juneau served as Director of Indian Education where she oversaw the implementation of Montana's constitutionally-mandated Indian Education For All program to deliver education in the public schools on Montana's American Indian heritage.[8][9]

Juneau was a law clerk at the Montana Supreme Court for justices Jim Regnier and Brian Morris from 2004 through 2005. Juneau worked as an associate attorney for the law firm Monteau and Peebles from 2005 to 2006. From 2006 through 2008, she was a division administrator at the Office of Public Instruction under Superintendent Linda McCulloch.[1] In 2009, Juneau was named Educator of the Year by the National Indian Education Association.[4][5]

Political campaigns[edit]

In 2008, Juneau ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction. She first won a four-way Democratic primary in June.[10] In the November general election, the final vote tally was 234,483 for Juneau (51%), 201,091 (43.7%) for her GOP opponent, Elaine Sollie Herman, and 24,236 (5.3%) for Libertarian candidate Donald Eisenmenger.[11]

In 2012, she ran for re-election against Republican Sandy Welch. Juneau was narrowly re-elected, receiving 235,397 votes to Welch's 233,166 votes.[12] Due to term limits, Juneau is ineligible to run again in 2016.[13]

Juneau was named as a possible candidate for Senator Max Baucus's (D-Montana) seat which was vacated upon his retirement in 2014, but on August 5, announced she would not run.[14]

On November 4, 2015, Juneau announced her candidacy for Montana's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.[15]

Tenure as State Superintendent of Public Instruction[edit]

Since Juneau took office in 2009, Juneau has reported that Montana's graduation rate increased 4.7 percent, while the dropout rate decreased 1.3 percent since the state started tracking these numbers in 2000.[16] Juneau oversaw the development of Montana's "Schools of Promise Initiative", an $11.5 million, three-year project which used federal grant money "to help teachers' union leaders, school board officials, and administrators attempt to address students' academic and social-emotional needs in some of the state's most disadvantaged schools." The academic results of that program have been mixed.[17][18]

Juneau gave a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in which she praised U.S. President Barack Obama's education policy.[18]

In 2015, Juneau was awarded the Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.[19] She also received the National Education Association's 2015 Leo Reano Memorial Award.[20]

Personal life[edit]

In November 2015, Juneau confirmed she had twice been arrested for driving under the influence while a college student.[21] Juneau is openly gay.[22]

Electoral history[edit]

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Democratic Primary Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Denise Juneau 54,031 37.54
Democratic Holly Raser 35,636 24.76
Democratic Sam Kitzenberg 30,207 20.98
Democratic Claudette Morton 24,074 16.72
Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Denise Juneau 234,483 51.00
Republican Elaine Sollie Herman 201,091 43.73
Libertarian Donald Eisenmenger 24,236 5.27
Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Denise Juneau (inc.) 235,397 50.24
Republican Sandy Welch 233,166 49.76


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Denise Juneau bio". The Missoulian. January 24, 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Cates-Carney, Corin (March 10, 2016). "Juneau Discusses 'Campaign Of Firsts'". Montana Public Radio. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  3. ^ McKee, Jennifer (January 4, 2009). "Montana under new management". Montana Standard. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Missoulian State Bureau (September 11, 2009). "Denise Juneau, Joe Medicine Crow named educator, elder of the year". Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Publisher. "NIEA names Denise Juneau Indian Educator of the Year". Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Denise Juneau launches campaign for Montana's U.S. House seat". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  7. ^ "Juneau". Archived from the original on January 11, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  8. ^ Rob Chaney Missoulian (December 30, 2008). "Native stories, our stories: Agency to design Indian education". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  9. ^ Rob Chaney (December 7, 2008). "Teachers look to get Indian info into classroom". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  10. ^ Charles S. Johnson (June 19, 2008). "Differences come to fore in OPI race". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  11. ^ 2008 Statewide General Election Canvass. Montana Secretary of State
  12. ^ "2012 Statewide General Election Results" (PDF). Montana Secretary of State. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  13. ^ Dennison, Mike (November 4, 2015). "Democrat Denise Juneau will challenge Zinke for Montana's Congressional seat". KRTV. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  14. ^ Capriccioso, Rob. "Denise Juneau Says No to US Senate Run in Montana". Indian Country. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Democrat Denise Juneau will challenge Zinke for Montana's Congressional seat". Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  16. ^ Deedy, Alexander (January 13, 2015). "[UPDATED] Montana Graduation Rate Hits All-Time High". Helena Independent Record. 
  17. ^ Yager, Sarah (March 23, 2012). "Making New Promises in Indian Country". The Atlantic. 
  18. ^ a b Ujifusa, Andrew (November 4, 2015). "Montana Chief Denise Juneau Announces Run for Congress". Education Week. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  19. ^ "Juneau to Receive Alumni Council Award". Harvard Graduate School of Education. Harvard University. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  20. ^ "NEA" (PDF). 
  21. ^ Cates, Kristen (November 16, 2015). "Juneau Confirms 2 DUI Arrests In College". Great Falls Tribune. 
  22. ^ "U.S. House hopeful Juneau is Montana's first openly gay candidate for federal office". KTVQ. February 3, 2016. 

External links[edit]