(HELENA, MONT.) – This afternoon Helena teacher leader Melissa Romano filed as a candidate for Superintendent of Montana’s Office of Public Instruction. Romano has been a teacher for over 15 years and is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and the 2018 Montana Teacher of the Year Award.
“Montana students, parents, and communities deserve a superintendent who actually supports public education, not privatizing it,” said Romano. “We deserve a superintendent who will show up at the legislature to fight extreme agendas that would deny our kids a quality education. And we deserve a superintendent who will put the interests of Montana first, not out-of-state special interests who see our public schools and public lands as cash cows ready to be sold off to the highest bidder.
Montana students need a fierce leader who will advocate every day on their behalf. I am running for Superintendent because I’m determined to restore competent, focused leadership that will protect and promote quality public education for all.”
Romano ran for Superintendent in 2016, losing by only 3 points to Elsie Artnzen, the closest statewide race of the cycle. As of January, Romano has raised nearly twice as much as Arntzen, proving this race will once again be competitive.
Since taking office, Superintendent Arntzen has had a deeply troubling record when it comes to supporting public education. During the 2019 Legislative Session, Artnzen did not oppose HB 303, a radical bill that would have ended the guaranteed right of all Montana kids to receive an education. Arntzen did not support the governor’s k-12 school funding bill, failed to testify in support of the Republican k-12 school funding bill, and opposed public pre-k education.
Perhaps worse, throughout her political career, Arntzen has advocated for the privatization of public education. Just last year she spoke at a school privatization rally and recently sat on an ALEC-sponsored panel in support of school privatization.
“I stand in support of our public schools,” said Romano. “As Montana’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction, I pledge to fight for our children and the public schools that empower, prepare, and educate them. As a public school leader, I have worked tirelessly to create a strong foundation of skills, knowledge, and love of learning in my students both in and out of the classroom. I have an understanding of what it takes in the classroom, within a school district, and at the state level to ensure all students have the opportunity to be prepared for success.”
As of filing, Romano had already received the endorsement of the Montana Federation of Public Employees, which represents the vast majority of K-12 public school educators; the endorsement of the Montana Sportsmens Alliance because of her commitment to Montana’s public lands and water; and the endorsement of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters because of her dedication to building pathways for students into technical careers.