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Martin City’s Sandy Welch Announces Bid for School Superintendent
Republican will challenge incumbent Denise Juneau
Sandy Welch, a former teacher and school administrator from Martin City, announced her Republican candidacy for state superintendent of public instruction at a series of press conferences across the state last week.

Welch will challenge incumbent Democrat Superintendent Denise Juneau in the 2012 election. According to a press release, Welch has more than 20 years of experience in education as a mathematics teacher, assistant principal, high school principal and public education consultant.

She kicked off her campaign with an announcement at Kalispell’s Hilton Garden Inn on Nov. 1, and held press conferences later in the day in Helena and Billings.

In an interview with the Beacon, Welch said the Montana Office of Public Instruction currently fosters an over-regulatory environment that hurts school efficiency.

“I’ve been talking to administrators and there’s a lot of frustration out there,” Welch said. “OPI has a lot of mandates. Schools need to have some of those regulations stripped away.”

As an example, she said schools are required to add administration once their student numbers hit a certain threshold, regardless of whether the schools needs more administration.

“As long as their students are performing well, we don’t need to tell them who to hire,” she said.

According to her press release, Welch has introduced plans to “grant enhanced local control and administrative flexibility to high achieving schools, amplify teacher performance through mentoring programs, and ensure that all students develop a common foundation of literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills.”

Welch’s campaign message, the release states, is “focused on how to improve lagging student achievement in order to prepare Montana’s students for the jobs of tomorrow.”

“Our economy is rapidly evolving and we can’t allow our schools, or our kids, to fall behind,” she said. “Our education system in Montana needs to ensure that the next generation of Montanans have the educational background to succeed in a changing world.”

“The people of Montana have invested in our education system,” she added. “Now we just need to make sure that investment is being utilized in a way that provides the greatest benefit to our students.”
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