Baesler announces re-election bid for Superintendent of Public Instruction

(Bismarck, ND) -- State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Wednesday she will run for re-election as North Dakota’s superintendent of public instruction, an office that oversees education in grades kindergarten through 12.

“We have accomplished much at the Department of Public Instruction, but there is still important work to be done,” Baesler said. “I will be asking North Dakotans for another four years to continue working for our students and families, supporting our schoolteachers, and ensuring our taxpayers’ substantial investment in education is spent wisely.”

Under Baesler’s leadership, more North Dakota students are graduating Choice Ready with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college, work, or the military, and the engagement of students’ families in their education has strengthened.

She has instituted the Be Legendary School Board Leadership Institute, a training program for school boards to help establish student academic goals as the number one priority and to monitor schools’ progress for accountability. She has provided fiscal training to local superintendent and school business manager teams to help districts maximize the value of every dollar for student academic achievement.

Baesler successfully led a first-in-the-nation proposal requiring instruction in computer science and cybersecurity and integrating cyber-education content standards into school coursework for all students in every grade. This prepares North Dakota students well with the most foundational and in-demand skills of the 21st century.

She helped build a public online “education dashboard” that provides North Dakotans information about student achievement results in mathematics, science, and English, as well as data about school building enrollment, demographics, graduation rates, and the results of engagement surveys, which measure students’ dedication to and enthusiasm about their education.

During her tenure, Baesler has saved millions for North Dakota taxpayers by reducing the number of employees at the Department of Public Instruction, eliminating the agency’s need to use leased space outside the state capitol, while increasing the quality and efficiency of service to the public and securing the strongest workplace engagement and satisfaction score on a 2023 employee survey.  

Baesler’s peers across the country have recognized her unwavering commitment to students and her strong leadership abilities by electing her as president of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the national organization that represents states’ interests in education.

Baesler, 54, is a resident of Mandan and a native of Flasher, a rural Morton County community. She was first elected superintendent of public instruction in 2012, in her first run for statewide office. 

Before being elected, she spent her career in Bismarck’s public schools as a vice principal, library media specialist, classroom teacher, and instructional assistant, and worked briefly for the North Dakota School Boards Association. She also served nine years on the Mandan school board, including seven as its president. She has three adult sons, one daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters.