Kirsten Baesler’s love of education is clear from the moment she starts talking about how she wants to inspire “every young kiddo” in her home state of North Dakota. Baesler grew up in rural Flasher as the youngest of seven children. She describes education as “her greatest love.” After getting a bachelor’s degree in education, she began teaching in the Bismarck Public Schools.
During her 22 years with the school district, she worked as an instructional assistant, classroom teacher, library media specialist and assistant vice principal. She also served as president of the Mandan School Board for nine years.
Baesler was first elected state superintendent of the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction in 2012. Now in her second term, Baesler says the role is “the best of both worlds,” using her background as a teacher as well as school board president. “What’s best for students is at the heart of every decision and every direction and every position that I take,” she says. “I never ever make decisions about K-12 education based on what’s best for adults.”