BISMARCK, N.D., Nov. 3, 2022 – North Dakota State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler on Thursday was named as the new president of the Council of Chief State School Officers, a national organization that represents state education interests.
Baesler was chosen at the CCSSO’s annual policy forum, which is being held this week in Austin, Texas. She will serve a one-year term as president of CCSSO’s nine-member board of directors, which governs the organization and manages its business affairs. Baesler succeeds Molly Spearman, the South Carolina education superintendent.
“I am humbled and honored to represent, as president, a great national organization that works every single day for the interests of students, their families, educators, and schools,” Baesler said. “As a leader from a state that feeds and fuels the world, I look forward to the diverse education policy discussions of our state education chiefs, who represent school districts large and small across our nation.”
“I promise to always keep this thought in mind: Student academic achievement can soar when adult behavior is focused on student outcomes,” Baesler said.
Baesler was first elected to the organization’s national board in January 2019. CCSSO includes the top education administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools, the Bureau of Indian Education, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
She was first elected as North Dakota’s superintendent of public instruction, which is a nonpartisan office, in 2012. She has subsequently been re-elected to two four-year terms. In her most recent race, in 2020, Baesler received 59 percent of the vote.
Before she became North Dakota’s top education official, Baesler had a 24-year career in the Bismarck public school system as a vice principal, library media specialist, classroom teacher, and instructional assistant. She also served on the Mandan school board for nine years, including seven years as its president.