Mandan school board president enters DPI race

BISMARCK—The new leaders of K-12 and higher education need to work together and with business leaders so curriculum can match the needs of the workforce, Mandan’s school board president said Thursday.

Kirsten Baesler of Mandan officially announced her candidacy for state superintendent of public instruction during stops in Bismarck and Fargo. She will seek Republican support at the party’s state convention later this month.

Baesler, 42, is in her sixth term as president of Mandan’s school board and works as an assistant principal and media specialist in Bismarck. She also serves on the North Dakota School Boards Association board of directors.

Baesler said public education is her passion, and she views herself as an advocate for the needs of children. She highlighted her 21 years of work experience in public education and said her roles on assorted education boards have kept her informed of federal and state regulations.

She said she’s been vocal that No Child Left Behind does not work for North Dakota and thinks it’s time to give local control back to the people who can best determine educational needs.

Baesler supports more coordination between K-12 and higher education to reduce the number of students needing remedial classes in college. Too many students are leaving high school unprepared to succeed and curriculum needs to be improved to make them college and career ready, she said.

She wants to see science, math and technology courses have an increased presence in all North Dakota schools.

Rep. David Monson, R-Osnabrock, also announced this week he would seek Republican support for the position.

Max Laird of Bismarck, a former president of the North Dakota Education Association, is seeking a letter of support from the state Democratic-NPL Party.  

Superintendent Wayne Sanstead is not seeking another term to the office.