School & District Management

Superintending Without a License

By Katie Ash — March 26, 2007 | Corrected: February 22, 2019 1 min read

Corrected: This story originally included misinformation about Wayne Sanstead’s tenure as superintendent. He has not yet announced whether he will run for a seventh term.

Forget being a “highly qualified” teacher—in North Dakota, the state superintendent soon may not need to be a teacher at all.

After party-line votes by Republicans in both houses of the state legislature, North Dakota is poised to eliminate its long-standing requirement that the state’s elected schools chief hold a teaching license. Gov. John Hoeven, a Republican, is expected to approve the bill, which has failed several times in the past.

The bill, which does not affect the requirements of appointed district superintendents, was opposed by most members of the state’s education community, including the North Dakota Education Association, the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders, and the current state superintendent, Wayne Sanstead, who will be completing his sixth term next year.

“[This bill] may serve the desires of a few ambitious job-seekers who cannot meet the current qualifications, but it does not serve our students or our schools,” Mr. Sanstead said in Jan. 24, testimony against it.

But Rep. Duane DeKrey, a Republican and the primary sponsor of the bill, said he and other Republicans in the House and the Senate believe the existing requirement limits the job pool and prevents qualified candidates from running for the position.

Furthermore, a legal opinion issued by state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjam, a Republican, has called the requirement unconstitutional, though it has never been challenged.

Arkansas—where the superintendent is appointed—is the only other state that requires its state schools chief to hold a teaching license, according to Rep. DeKrey. Nor is having a teaching license a requisite for the highest education position in the nation, as U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings revealed at a recent hearing when she cited her classroom experience as limited to substitute teaching, which does not require certification. (“Spellings Is Grilled on NCLB, Reading First,” March 21, 2007.)

Rep. DeKrey rejects suggestions that his bill is a political move by the GOP to gain control of the North Dakota education department. “I never talked to anyone about it. It was my idea alone,” he said. “I did not do it for political reasons.”

See Also

See other stories on education issues in North Dakota, along with data on North Dakota’s public school system.

For more stories on this topic see Leadership and Management.

A version of this article appeared in the March 28, 2007 edition of Education Week

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
Teaching Webinar
Interactive Learning Best Practices: Creative Ways Interactive Displays Engage Students
Students and teachers alike struggle in our newly hybrid world where learning takes place partly on-site and partly online. Focus, engagement, and motivation have become big concerns in this transition. In this webinar, we will
Content provided by Samsung
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
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management 'You Can’t Follow CDC Guidelines': What Schools Really Look Like During COVID-19
All year, some teachers have said that enforcing precautions to slow the spread of the virus in classrooms can be nearly impossible.
13 min read
Guntown Middle School eighth graders walk the halls to their next class as others wait in their assigned spots against the wall before moving into their next class during the first day back to school for the Lee County District in Guntown, Miss on Aug. 6, 2020.
Eight graders walk the halls on the first day back to school in Guntown, Miss., on Aug. 6, 2020. Teachers in several states told Education Week that since the beginning of the school year, enforcing precautions such as social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus has been nearly impossible.<br/>
Adam Robison/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP
School & District Management Opinion School Reopening Requires More Than Just Following the Science
Educators can only “follow the science” so far. Professional expertise matters too, writes Susan Moore Johnson.
Susan Moore Johnson
5 min read
Illustration of school and bus
Getty
School & District Management Why Teacher Vaccinations Are So Hard to Track
Teachers can now get the COVID-19 vaccine, but there’s no way of knowing how many are currently inoculated against the virus.
6 min read
Image of a needle and vaccine bottle.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Do Teachers Have to Disclose Their Vaccination Status? Experts Weigh In
Experts answer four pressing questions about teachers, privacy, and COVID-19 vaccines.
3 min read
Vaccine record.
Bill Oxford/iStock/Getty