Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, Mandan and Hidatsa, (left) faces competition from Republican candidate Sandy Welch.

Denise Juneau Faces Competition From Republican Sandy Welch


Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, a Democrat, was the first American Indian woman to be elected to a statewide executive office back in 2008. Four years later it’s time for her to defend her job against challenger Republican Sandy Welch, an education consultant and former principal who started her education career as a math teacher.

Juneau, Mandan and Hidatsa, says she’s proud of what she’s accomplished during her first term—according to and other news outlets, graduation rates have increased and student achievement is among the highest in the country. But at a September debate in Helena, Montana, Welch said Juneau isn’t listening to Montanans.

The two disagree on a number of issues. Welch would support charter schools, Juneau would not; Juneau supports the current teacher tenure system whereas Welch thinks it needs reforming.

The changing economy is what Juneau cited as the greatest challenge facing public education and she said kids need to have skills for the 21st century, including technology.

Welch thinks schools need to focus more on prioritizing basics like reading, writing and math.

Read ICTMN's interview with Juneau here:

Denise Juneau to Speak About Indian Education at Democratic National Convention

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