Glenda Ritz

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Glenda Ritz
Glenda Ritz.jpg
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction
In office
January 14, 2013 – present
Term ends
Years in position 2
PredecessorTony Bennett (R)
Base salary$92,503
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$358,257
Term limitsN/A
High schoolJefferson High School
Bachelor'sBall State University
Master'sBall State University; IUPUI
Place of birthLafayette, Indiana
ProfessionLibrary Media Specialist
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Glenda Ritz (b. Lafayette, Indiana) is the current Democratic Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. She has served in this position since January 14, 2013.[1]

Ritz was first elected superintendent in 2012. Democrats officially selected her as their nominee at the state party convention on June 16.[2] She went on to face Republican incumbent Tony Bennett in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012. After a hotly contested race, Ritz managed to narrowly oust Bennett. He was subsequently, and surprisingly, approved for appointment as Florida Commissioner of Education on December 12, 2012. Bennett assumed office as commissioner on January 14, 2013, the same day Ritz was sworn in to succeed him as Indiana superintendent[3][1] Bennett resigned as Florida's education chief on Aug. 1, 2013, amid revelations that, while he was still superintendent in Indiana, he tampered with a charter school's grading system in order to protect his relationship with a powerful Republican campaign donor.[4][5]

Before becoming superintendent, Ritz was a Library Media Specialist in Indianapolis. She is also qualified to teach elementary and special education.[6]

Since taking office, Ritz has drawn significant attention for her often unconventional leadership tactics and disagreements with Gov. Mike Pence (R) on how best to run the State Department of Education. As superintendent, Ritz chair's the State Board of Education; as governor, Pence appoints its members. Her engagement in a power struggle with Pence over control of the State Board is already a theme of Ritz' term.[7][8]

In her capacity as Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ritz is the director of the state Department of Education and chairs the Indiana Board of Education. The superintendent has additional authority over school lunch programs and the distribution of surplus agricultural commodities.[9] The job requires her to ensure the Department of Education fulfills its statutory duties and policies determined Indiana Board of Education, which the superintendent chairs. Department duties include conducting research to aid in the development of educational policies, compiling basic statistics about the ethnicity, gender and disability status of Indiana public school students.[10]


Ritz is a licensed teacher in elementary education and special education. Prior to her election as superintendent Ritz worked as a Library Media Specialist at Crooked Creek Elementary School in the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township, Indianapolis.[6]


  • Bachelor's degree, Ball State University
  • Master's degree, Ball State University
  • Master's degree, Library Science, IUPUI

Political career

Superintendent of Public Instruction (2013-Present)

Ritz won election as Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction on November 6, 2012. She took office on January 14, 2013.[1]


Common Core

See also: Common Core State Standards Initiative

Indiana was among the first states to adopt Common Core standards under Ritz' predecessor, Republican Tony Bennett. Ritz unseated Bennett as Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction in the 2012 elections, thanks in part to her stance against Common Core.[11] Before he left office, Bennett helped Indiana obtain a waiver from No Child Left Behind which allowed the state to control 20 percent of federal education funding, and was conditional upon the state's adoption of national academic standards like Common Core and teacher evaluations. Bennett was a staunch supporter of the reforms tied to the waiver, however it was Ritz who ultimately had to comply with their implementation.

Months after Ritz took over as superintendent, Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) signed a law delaying the implementation of Common Core in Indiana for one year.[12] By May 2014, Indiana became the first state to withdraw Indiana from Common Core.[13] The Indiana State Board of Education, chaired by Ritz, then approved its own set of standards which blend together some of the Common Core with previous Indiana standards while incorporating recommendations by experts in the relevant subjects. An extension to the 2012 No Child Left Behind waiver was submitted by Ritz and the Board of Education on June 30, 2014, after much disagreement over proposed amendments to Indiana's new standardized exam. The waiver must be approved by the U.S. Department of Education in order for Indiana to maintain the current level of autonomy over its education standards and spending decisions. Implementation of Indiana's Common Core-alternative standards for K-12, for example, is contingent upon Ritz and the state Board of Education's successful demonstration of the state's standards adherence to federal mandates concerning the college and career readiness rates among Indiana's public high school graduates.[14] "I believe that Hoosier schools will have much needed flexibility over how they use some of their federal funding; Most importantly, this flexibility will improve education for our students," Ritz stated.[15]


Conflict with Gov. Pence and State Board

See also: Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz clashes with State Board of Education

Ritz caused a stir on Nov. 13, 2013 when she abruptly bailed out of a meeting with the State Board of Education.[16] Her controversial behavior was provoked by a motion to advance a proposal that would expand the role of the Center for Education and Career Innovation, an education agency created by Gov. Mike Pence (R) in August 2013. "Truly, an improper motion means the motion itself interferes with statutory obligations," Ritz said of the plan to increase the new agency's say in the shaping of state education policy.

Believing the plan to be in clear violation of Indiana state law, Ritz' fierce resistance to the plan led one board member to argue, “You are not the attorney general...We are a public entity. We have the right to vote. No chair can stop us." With that, she adjourned the meeting, bringing progress on the issue to a screeching halt.[7] Another board member, Gordon Hendry (D), said Ritz' behavior was unprecedented for a chairperson and "I’m deeply disappointed in what transpired." Despite the disapproval of some members, in light of Ritz' protestations and the public's consequent focus on the issue, they conceded to wait to vote on the motion.[8][17]

This dispute aligned with the power struggle between Ritz and Pence, which began soon after Ritz took office, over who controls the State Board of Education. Often the conflicts are due directly to the Department of Education leadership structure: As superintendent, Ritz chair's the Board; as governor, Pence appoints its members. However bad timing was the predominant factor in Ritz' decision to walk out of the meeting. The day before it occurred, a number of media outlets printed an op-ed submitted by Ritz in which she accused Pence of plotting to consolidate authority over the Board under the governor's office. In the op-ed, she pointedly restated her commitment to "strengthen the Department of Education, not have it dismantled."[7] The previous week, a judge rejected a lawsuit Ritz filed against the Board, claiming the panel broke the law by convening without her permission while she was out of town. In Ritz' view, the possibility of enacting a plan to make Pence's nascent education agency more influential in setting statewide education standards stood for yet another incidence of the Board skirting state law and facilitating Pence's overreach on education.[8]



See also: Indiana down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Ritz won election as Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2012. Democrats officially selected Ritz as their nominee at the state party convention on June 16.[18] She defeated incumbent Tony Bennett (R), who sought re-election on the Republican ticket, in the general election on November 6, 2012.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngGlenda Ritz 52.8% 1,332,755
     Republican Tony Bennett Incumbent 47.2% 1,190,716
Total Votes 2,523,471
Election Results via Indiana Secretary of State.

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Ritz is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, Ritz raised a total of $358,257 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 10, 2013.[19]

Glenda Ritz's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Won $358,257
Grand Total Raised $358,257


Ritz won election to the position of Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2012. During that election cycle, Ritz raised a total of $358,257.


Ritz and her husband have two children, Brandon and Phillip.[6]

Recent news

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Glenda Ritz - Google News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Courier Press, "Incoming education chief Glenda Ritz plans easy transition," January 13, 2013
  2. WISHTV, "Ind. Democrats pick nominees for top jobs," June 17, 2012
  3. Orlando Sentinel, "Tony Bennett applied for Fl’s school job, Indiana office says," December 3, 2012
  4. Miami Herald Florida, Amid grading controversy, Florida education chief Tony Bennett resigns, August 1, 2013
  5., "New Fla. education commissioner followed Bush lead," January 14, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ritz 4 Ed, "Meet Glenda," accessed December 7, 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Indianapolis Star, "State Schools chief Glenda Ritz accuses Mike Pence of trying a 'complete takeover of education'," November 13, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Indiana Public Media, "What State Board Members Said After Glenda Ritz Walked Out of Wednesday's Meeting," November 14, 2013
  9. Indiana Code, "IC 20-19," accessed August 16, 2013
  10. Indiana Department of Education, " Superintendent," accessed July 5, 2013
  11. Hoosiers Against Common Core, "Indiana Superintendent-Elect Glenda Ritz on Common Core Standards and Testing," December 25, 2012
  12. StateImpact, "After Lawmakers Pause Common Core Implementation, Teachers Ask What's Next," May 17, 2013
  13. AP, "Indiana Withdrawing from Common Core Standards," March 24, 2014
  14. IndyStar, "Glenda Ritz, state education board clash over waiver," June 24, 2014
  15., "State amends No Child Left Behind waiver, By The StateHouse File," July 1, 2014
  16. Chalkbeat Indiana, "Board tentions explode as Ritz walks out on meeting," November 13, 2013
  17. Indianapolis Star, "Editorial: Glenda Ritz's walkout ill serves state, students," November 13, 2013
  18. WISHTV, "Ind. Democrats pick nominees for top jobs," June 17, 2012
  19. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Glenda Sue Ritz," accessed July 10, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Bennett (R)
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction
January 14, 2013 - Present
Succeeded by