North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction

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North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2011-2013 FY Budget:  $1,700,184,074
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  North Dakota Constitution, Article V, Section 2
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Kirsten Baesler 2.jpg
Name:  Kirsten Baesler
Assumed office:  January 2, 2013
Compensation:  $99,876
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other North Dakota Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service CommissionTax Commissioner
The North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction is an elected executive position in the North Dakota state government. As the state's chief education officer, the superintendent manages virtually every aspect of the state's public education system.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Kirsten Baesler. She was first elected in 2012.


The state Constitution establishes the office of superintendent of public instruction in Article V, Section 2:

The qualified electors of the state at the times and places of choosing members of the legislative assembly shall choose a governor, lieutenant governor, agriculture commissioner, attorney general, auditor, insurance commissioner, three public service commissioners, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, tax commissioner, and treasurer. ...


Chapter 15.1-02 of the North Dakota Century Code establishes the qualifications to hold the office of superintendent of public instruction:

The qualified electors of this state shall elect a superintendent of public instruction at the appropriate general election. The superintendent must be at least twenty-five years of age on the day of the election and have the qualifications of an elector for that office at all times during the superintendent's term of office.
  • qualified North Dakota voter
  • at least 25 years old


The superintendent of public instruction in North Dakota is popularly elected every four years, in Presidential election years. For North Dakota, 2012, 2016, and 2020 are all superintendent election years. The term of office is four years.


See also: North Dakota down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Incumbent Wayne Sanstead did not seek re-election in 2012. Kirsten Baesler (supported by Republican convention) defeated Tracy Potter (Did not seek Democratic convention support) in the November 6, 2012 general election.

North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKirsten Baesler 55.1% 154,177
     Nonpartisan Tracy Potter 44.6% 124,807
     N/A Write-in 0.4% 1,069
Total Votes 280,053
Election Results via North Dakota Secretary of State.


Article V, Section 8 addresses vacancies in state executive offices. In the event of a vacancy, the governor nominates a successor who must be confirmed by the state senate. Once confirmed, the individual serves the remainder of the unexpired term.


The superintendent has a number of responsibilities related to the education of North Dakota's children. They enforce relevant state laws and regulations, supervise the North Dakota Schools for the Deaf and Blind, the State Library, and the Department of Public Instruction, and work to create more educational opportunities for the entire state. Chapter 15.1 of the North Dakota Century Code outlines the specific duties of the office:

  • manage the elementary and secondary public education systems
  • oversee the establishment and maintenance of schools
  • provide advice and counsel regarding the welfare of schools
  • manage the development of course content standards and student assessments
  • direct school district annexation, reorganization, and dissolution

In addition, the superintendent serves as an ex officio member of the Board of University and School Lands.[1]

Click here to view a larger-scale image of the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction Organizational Chart as of March 2013.


The department of public instruction has four main divisions, one of which, the Administrative Services Division, provides financial and personnel management support for the entire department. Three ancillary organizations - the North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, the North Dakota School for the Deaf, and the North Dakota State Library - also fall under the purview of the superintendent, though they each function independently of the rest of the department.

  • The Education Improvement Division includes offices that manage information systems, special education, standards & achievement, and Title I.
  • The Education & Community Support Division includes the offices that manage child nutrition & food distribution, coordinated school health & adult education, counselor programs, professional development, and school approval & accreditation.[2]

State budget

The budget for the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office in Fiscal Year 2011-2013 was $1,700,184,074.[3]


In 2010, the North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction was paid an estimated $95,112 according to the Council of State Governments.[4] Chapter 15.1-02 of the North Dakota Century Code sets the salary for the superintendent at $102,868 through June 20, 2012, and $105,944 thereafter.

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

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Contact information

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 201
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0440

Phone: 701-328-2260

Employee contact list

See also

External links

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