School & District Management News in Brief

After 28 years, N.D. Schools Chief Decides to Retire

By Sean Cavanagh — February 28, 2012 1 min read

Wayne G. Sanstead, the gregarious former government teacher and debate coach who has served as North Dakota’s state schools superintendent for nearly three decades, announced this month that he will not seek re-election.

Mr. Sanstead, 76, is the longest-serving state schools chief in the country, according to the Council of Chief State School Officers.

He said he’s retiring from public service to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren and to relax. The self-described “prolific vote-getter,” who has won seven straight elections as superintendent, said he was confident he would have won an eighth term this year, but decided against it.

In a phone interview, Mr. Sanstead offered a reporter “greetings from beautiful and bountiful North Dakota, where the sun is shining, even if I’m not running.”

“I had put together two news releases: one that read yes, I’m running; one that read ‘no,’ ” he said. “I found the real meaning in public life. The decision didn’t come lightly. But I think I’ve put in my time.”

Mr. Sanstead is a Democrat, though his office is officially nonpartisan. His party affiliation makes him a rarity in North Dakota, where the governor is a Republican and the state legislature is dominated by the GOP.

The superintendent said he is most proud of his efforts to increase and equalize state funding across North Dakota’s schools, and the state’s progress in increasing student access to education through technology and other means.

Mr. Sanstead has served in public office for a total of 46 years. He was elected as a state representative in 1964, while working as a teacher in his hometown of Minot. He later served in the state Senate, and in 1972, he was elected lieutenant governor.

He continued to teach full time in the classroom until 1979, when he became the state’s first full-time lieutenant governor, according to his biography. He was first elected as the state’s schools chief in 1984.

All told, Mr. Sanstead has been elected to office 16 times and lost only once—in 1980, when he was lieutenant governor, amid the Republican wave that brought Ronald Reagan to the White House.

“You can’t stand in front of a landslide,” he said. “I found that out firsthand.”

A version of this article appeared in the February 29, 2012 edition of Education Week as After 28 Years, N.D. Superintendent to Retire

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Supervising Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
Weston, Florida, United States
Camelot Education
Supervising Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Camelot Education
Training Specialist (full time, center-based)
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Camelot Education
Vice President of Corporate Development and Operations
Nationwide, United States
Camelot Education

Read Next

School & District Management New York City's Equity-Minded Schools Chief Resigns
Richard A. Carranza, the chancellor of the New York City schools, announced Feb. 26 he will step down from the job next month.
4 min read
Richard Carranza, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, arrives to Public School 188 The Island School as students arrive for in-person classes, on, Sept. 29, 2020, in the Manhattan borough of New York.
Richard A. Carranza announced he will depart the top New York City schools job in March.
John Minchillo/AP
School & District Management Opinion New Resource Tracks School System Reopening
The Return to Learn Tracker identifies the current instructional model of all regular public school districts with three or more schools.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management San Francisco School Board Pauses Renaming 44 Schools, Promises to Consult Historians
The renaming of 44 schools in the San Francisco Unified School District is apparently being put on hold after intense blowback.
Greg Keraghosian
1 min read
A pedestrian walks below a sign for Dianne Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco, on Dec. 17, 2020. The San Francisco Unified School District put the renaming of 44 schools, including Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, on hold after local and national blowback.
A pedestrian walks below a sign for Dianne Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco, on Dec. 17, 2020. The San Francisco Unified School District put the renaming of 44 schools, including Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, on hold after local and national blowback.<br/><br/>
Jeff Chiu/AP
School & District Management Superintendent Who Led During COVID-19 School Shutdowns Gets Top Honors
Michelle Reid of Washington state's Northshore district, one of the very first to close schools last March, was named National Superintendent of the Year.
3 min read
Michelle Reid, superintendent of the Northshore district in Washington
Michelle Reid, the superintendent of the Northshore district in Washington, was named National Superintendent of the Year.
courtesy of AASA, the School Superintendents Association