Meet the candidates running for ND State Superintendent of Public Instruction

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KX News is your local election headquarters. And next week, a field of three candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction will narrow to two.
Karassa Stinchcomb introduces us to the three people hoping to move on to November.

Kirsten Baesler is running for re-election for a third term as Superintedent of Public Instruction.

Over the last seven-and-a-half years, she said she’s seen graduation rates increase, but she says there’s a lot she wants to do in the next 4 years, like adding computer science and coding to every school and continue partnering with the private sector for school-to-work programs.

We asked Superintendent Baesler about the DUI charge she pleaded guilty to in March

“I would say I have put everything in God’s hands. I’ve attended those therapy and committed to those counseling sessions every week and the months since that incident. I think it’s important, as I work with young people who may be struggling with these situations themselves or certainly maybe have someone in their own life that is struggling with the same things and the same circumstances that I have. It’s important for those young people to see me as someone who was human and made a serious mistake,” said Baesler.

Charles Tuttle is a businessman. He said he wants teachers to have control of their classrooms and curriculum.

He said he imagines more of an emphasis on phonics and logic, not technology.

“I hate to say this, but the computers need to go, the tablets need to go, the cell phones need to go. Our kids can’t tell time on a watch, okay? If they can’t tell time on a watch, they can’t even understand how the earth rotates. Because everything is digital, you know? They can calculate stuff on a calculator, so what happens when they don’t have that? They can’t calculate,” Tuttle said.

Brandt Dick is the superintendent and activities director of Underwood School District. He has 25 years of education experience, and he says he wants to focus on adding mental health resources to schools

“Unfortunately, I’ve had two situations in my career, one as an teacher, one as a superintendent, where I’ve had students committed suicide. And that’s tough. Those are very tough for communities, for places to deal with. So, one of the things I’d like to see as the head of the department of public instruction is to get a trauma team together because at those times, that is when schools and communities need extra help to help them through that,” Dick said.

We also asked Dick and Tuttle what they would’ve done differently if they were State Superintedent during COVID-19. We also asked Baesler her thoughts on what went well, and what didn’t.

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