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Denise Juneau

Denise Juneau
Personal details
Born (1967-04-05) April 5, 1967
Oakland, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Residence Helena, Montana
Alma mater Montana State University,

Harvard University
University of Montana,
Profession Teacher and Attorney

Denise Juneau (born April 5, 1967) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Montana elected as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.[1] The State Superintendent of Public Instruction heads the Montana Office of Public Instruction. A member of the Democratic Party, Juneau is the first American Indian woman to be elected to statewide executive office in Montana.[2][3][4] She is a member of the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes.[5][6]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Early career 2
  • Political career 3
  • Accomplishments 4
  • External links 5
  • References 6

Early life and education

Juneau was born in Oakland, California.[7] She attended Montana’s public education system from elementary school through higher education and worked in Montana public schools through most of her professional career. Juneau attended Head Start and first grade in Billings, Montana while her parents completed their undergraduate degrees–both in education. The family then moved to Juneau's father’s hometown of Browning, Montana, where her parents were teachers, and she graduated from Browning High School.[8] At Montana State University – Bozeman, Juneau received a Bachelor’s Degree in English. She went on to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she completed her Master of Education Degree.[9] Juneau then attended the University of Montana Law School, completing her J.D. in 2004.[9]

Early career

Denise Juneau's teaching career began in New Town, North Dakota on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Juneau's mother, Montana state Senator Carol Juneau,[10] grew up in that area, and Juneau is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes. The Mandan and Hidatsa tribes are a part of the combined nations, known as the Three Affiliated Tribes. Juneau's first teaching job included teaching English to every 9th and 10th grader in the school, as well as coaching the speech and debate team.

Prior to running for public office, Juneau worked at the Montana Office of Public Instruction as the Director of Indian Education where she oversaw the implementation of Montana's constitutionally-mandated Indian Education For All program to deliver education in the public schools on Montana's American Indian heritage.[11][12] Following law school, she was a law clerk for Montana Supreme Court Justices Jim Regnier and Brian Morris, then went on to work as an attorney for a national law firm that specialized in Federal Indian law.[9]

Political career

In 2008, Juneau ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction. She first won a four-way Democratic primary in June.[13] In the November general election, the final vote tally was 234,483 for Juneau (51%), 201,091 (43.7%) for her GOP opponent, Elaine Sollie Herman, and 24,236 (5.3%) for Libertarian candidate Donald Eisenmenger.[14]

In 2012 she ran for reelection against Republican Sandy Welch. Juneau won for a second term.[15] Due to term limits, she will be ineligible to run again in 2016.

Juneau had been named as a possible candidate for Senator Max Baucus' (D-Montana) seat which will be vacated upon his retirement in 2014, but on August 5, announced she would not run.[16]


Since Juneau took office, she has promoted projects to lower the rate of tobacco use among Montana teens, and to increase student test scores. Statistics from her first year in office indicate that these efforts are correlated to a drop in tobacco use amongst teens and preliminary data shows a rise in test scores.[17][18] Montana students currently test above the national average in math, and reading scores have improved.[19][20] She has also promoted funding to allow schools to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables to students,[21] in conjunction with promoting local agriculture,[22] and advancing agriculture education in Montana.[23]

In 2009, Montana's leadership in Indian Education was recognized when Juneau was named educator of the year by the National Indian Education Association.[24][25][26][27] On August 22, 2012, it was announced that she would be a speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.[28]

External links

  • Denise Juneau, Montana Office of Public Instruction Official Website Official Montana Office of Public Instruction website


  1. ^ Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction
  2. ^ Montana under new management
  3. ^ Denise Juneau, Joe Medicine Crow named educator, elder of the year
  4. ^ Denise Juneau, NIEA member is Montana's new Superintendent of Public Instruction
  5. ^
  6. ^ "125 Montana Newsmakers - Denise Juneau". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  7. ^ Denise Juneau bio ( article-January 24, 2012)
  8. ^ Denise Juneau's official bio
  9. ^ a b c Superintendent Denise Juneau's Biography, Montana Office of Public Instruction
  10. ^ Carol Juneau bio, MEA-MFT Website
  11. ^ The Billings Gazette
  12. ^ The Billings Gazette
  13. ^ The Billings Gazette
  14. ^ 2008 Statewide General Election Canvass. Montana Secretary of State
  15. ^
  16. ^ Capriccioso, Rob. "Denise Juneau Says No to US Senate Run in Montana". Indian Country. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Smoking rate decreases among Montana youth
  18. ^ Montana's students above average in ACT scores
  19. ^ Montana math scores above average
  20. ^ 11/10/09 - New Study of Montana Reading First Finds Substantial Progress, Struggling Readers Reduced
  21. ^ Schools get grants to offer fresh fruit, veggies
  22. ^ Ag producers, consumers pushing farm-to-table concept
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ National Indian Education Association
  25. ^ 10/30/09 - Montana Leads the Region in Key Education Policies
  26. ^ Juneau named Educator of the year by NIEA
  27. ^ NIEA names Denise Juneau Indian Educator of the Year
  28. ^ title=Ledbetter, Baldwin, Longoria to address Dem convention|url=
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