Montana Office of Public Instruction

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Office of Public Instruction
OPI Logo.png
Montana Office of Public Instruction
Agency overview
JurisdictionState of Montana
HeadquartersHelena, Montana
Annual budget$1.009 billion (2019)
Agency executive

The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is the state education agency of Montana. Elsie Arntzen currently serves as the Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction. The agency is headquartered in Helena.

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,[1] the State Library Commission,[2] and as an ex officio non-voting member of the Board of Public Education,[3] the Board of Regents[4] for the University System, and the Board of Education.[5]

Elsie Arntzen 2017-Present[edit]

First Years in Office[edit]

Elsie Arntzen was elected Superintendent of the Montana Office of Public Instruction on November 8, 2016 and was sworn into office on January 2, 2017. Arntzen was previously a state legislator for 12 years and teacher in the Billings School District for 23 years. In her first year in office, Superintendent Arntzen received the U.S. Department of Education's Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program. The program gave a federal grant of $24 million over the course of three years to advance literacy skills.[6] Being the newly elected State Superintendent, Arntzen was responsible in implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Montana. Her office released their state ESSA plan in September 2017 and subsequently had the plan approved by the U.S. Department of Education in January 2018.[7] In the same year, Arntzen offered new online mental health and suicide prevention resources available for teachers. The program is provided through Montana's Learning Hub through the Project AWARE-MT SOARS grant funding. The contract, with Kognito Interactive Programs, provided unlimited access for all Montana educators, school staff, and OPI partners over a 12-month period.[8] In June 2018, Arntzen announced that Montana was one of ten states to receive a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense for the Troops to Teachers program.[9] Arntzen's Montana Ready initiative has promoted career and technical education, work-based learning, individualized learning, and expanded public-private partnerships.[10]

School Safety[edit]

Arntzen has made student safety along with career and college readiness the key initiatives of her first term. She is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) School Safety Steering Committee.[11] In August 2018, Arntzen attended a listening session of President Donald Trump's Federal Commission on School Safety in Cheyenne, Wyoming[12] with the goal of creating a list of recommendations for schools in the United States in regard to safety.[13] The meeting included representatives from Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In December 2018, Arntzen joined Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and President Trump[14] at a School Safety round table at the White House.[15] In the 2019 Montana legislature, she advanced state-level legislation to keep predators out of Montana classrooms.[16] In an editorial published on January 31, 2019 Arntzen criticized the Montana Public Education Center (MT-PEC) for opposing the Student Safety Accountability Act, which banned sexual activity between an employee of a school district and a student.[17] MT-PEC is noted as being a statewide organization that is composed of the Montana School Boards Association, the School Administrators of Montana, the Montana Quality Education Coalition, the Montana Federation of Public Employees, and the Montana Association of School Business Officials.[18]

School data 2018-19[19][edit]

School Data 2008-2009
Elementary Schools 435
Middle, 7&8, Junior High Schools 217
High Schools 171
Total Schools 823

School Graduation Rates[edit]

School Year Graduation Rate[20]
2017-2018 86.39%
2016-2017 85.83%
2015-2016 85.64%
2014-2015 86.04%
2013-2014 85.43%
2012-2013 84.41%

Denise Juneau 2009-2017[edit]

Denise Juneau took office on January 5, 2009. In that same year tobacco use among Montana teens declined[21] and student Student ACT scores were reporting up in 2009 from 2008. However, those two 2009 reported successes were attributed to the previous superintendent of Public Instruction, Linda McCulloch.[22] In that same year math scores showed that Montana fourth and eighth–graders continued to test above the national average,[23] and the number of students who struggle with reading was down from 2008.[24]

In 2009, Montana's leadership in key Indian Education policies was recognized.[25] Bozeman middle–school student Marina Dimitrov became America's Top Young Scientist.[26] The National Indian Education Association named Denise Juneau 2009 Educator of the Year,[27] and under Juneau's leadership Montana became one of only seven states receiving grants to increase the number of graduates.[28]

At the end of 2009, Montana was awarded grants for schools to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students.[29] Juneau also promoted local agriculture through farm to school programs.[30]

Montana Superintendents of Public Instruction[edit]

Name Years
Elsie Arntzen 2017–Present
Denise Juneau 2009–2017
Linda McCulloch 2001–2009
Nancy Keenan 1989–2001
Ed Argenbright 1981–1989
Georgia Ruth Rice 1977–1981
Delores Colburg 1969–1977
Harriet Miller[31] 1957–1969
Mary M. Condon 1949–1957
Elizabeth Ireland 1941–1949
Ruth Reardon 1937–1941
Mary Trumper 1917–1929
Henry A. Davee 1905–1917
W. W. Welch 1901–1905
E. W. Carlton 1897–1901
E. A. Steere 1893–1897
John Gannon 1889–1893


  1. ^ "DNRC Commissions & Committees". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ [1] Archived September 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [2] Archived March 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Montana University System | Montana Colleges, Universities and Community Colleges". Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  5. ^ "Montana OPI Media Center". Archived from the original on 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2013-10-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ "State gets $24 million federal grant to aid literacy". The Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  7. ^ "U.S. Secretary of Education Approves Montana's ESSA Plan". State of Montana Newsroom. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  8. ^ "OPI to offer online mental health and suicide prevention resources for teachers". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  9. ^ "Montana receives 5-year, $3.4 million grant to continue operating troops to teachers programs". State of Montana Newsroom. June 8, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  10. ^, LUCY TOMPKINS. "Hellgate High students encouraged to find careers in trades". Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  11. ^ "State Chiefs Join Together to Lead School Safety Steering Committee | CCSSO". Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  12. ^ "Readout of the Federal Commission on School Safety's Third Regional Public Listening Session | U.S. Department of Education". Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  13. ^ Garcia, Nicolas (2018-08-07). "State superintendent attends federal school safety hearing". KECI. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  14. ^ "Remarks by President Trump in Roundtable Discussion on the Federal Commission on School Safety Report". The White House. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  15. ^ Hoffman, Matt. "Montana's education superintendent applauds White House school safety recommendations". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  16. ^ "MT bills banning student consent to sexual relationships with school employees backed". 2019-01-26. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  17. ^ ARNTZEN, ELSIE. "Why oppose bill to remove predators from classrooms?". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  18. ^ "Home - Montana Public Education Center". Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  19. ^ "Facts About Montana Education 2019" (PDF). Montana Office of Public Instruction. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  20. ^ "Summary Graduation report". The Montana Office of Public Instruction. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Smoking rate decreases among Montana youth". 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  22. ^ "Montana's students above average in ACT scores". 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  23. ^ "Montana math scores above average". 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  24. ^ "11/10/09 - New Study of Montana Reading First Finds Substantial Progress, Struggling Readers Reduced". 2009-11-10. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  25. ^ "10/30/09 - Montana Leads the Region in Key Education Policies". 2009-10-30. Archived from the original on 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2013-10-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  26. ^ "Bozeman girl wins America's top young scientist award - The Bozeman Daily Chronicle: News". The Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  27. ^ "NIEA names Denise Juneau Indian Educator of the Year". Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  28. ^ "Montana gets grant for grads". 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  29. ^ "Schools get grants to offer fresh fruit, veggies". 2009-10-30. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  30. ^ "Ag producers, consumers pushing farm-to-table concept". 2009-11-08. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  31. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Index to Politicians: Miller, G to I". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2013-10-27.

External links[edit]