Melissa Romano, a Helena Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the superintendent of public instruction position in 2016, is seeking the job again in 2020, she announced in a press release Tuesday.
The superintendent is one of five statewide elected officials and heads the Office of Public Instruction, which oversees K-12 education in Montana. Superintendent Elsie Arntzen, a Republican, has not yet said if she's running for re-election.
“As a Montana teacher leader and proud public school educator, I believe all children deserve the opportunity to be prepared for the future with a quality education. Montana students need a fierce leader in their superintendent, who will advocate every day on their behalf,” Romano said in the press release Tuesday.
Romano is a fourth-grade teacher at Four Georgians Elementary School and was named Montana Teacher of the Year in 2018. She has served on local, state and national education committees and has received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
In her press release, Romano was critical of the job Arntzen has done in office, citing performance during the recently ended legislative session. Under Arntzen, the Office of Public Instruction did not weigh in on a proposal that would have used some public money for private preschools and was silent on a bill that would have made public education voluntary. OPI did support legislation that would ban sex between teachers and students.
In 2020 all of the elected statewide offices are up for election. The governor's race is open, as Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat is termed out. The attorney general is an open seat, as Republican Attorney General Tim Fox is also termed out and has announced a bid for governor. Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, a Republican, could run for his job again but is running for governor instead. Arntzen and Republican state Auditor Matt Rosendale, who both could run for re-election, have not announced their 2020 plans yet.