Brandt Dick is already a superintendent. He works for the public school system in Underwood, North Dakota.

He'd like to continue to be a superintendent, albeit of all of North Dakota's public schools. He's asking North Dakota voters to do that this election year. He's one of three candidates for the position on the June primary ballot, along with incumbent Kirsten Baesler and gadfly candidate Charles Tuttle.

Asked about Baesler's job performance, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted statewide school closures, Dick said she's done a "decent job," though he thinks she hasn't been assertive enough.

"It seems like there are some times she's allowed the governor to be in control and make decisions," he told me.

One area where he's critical is school closures.

"Even now two months after we shut down the schools, there are still 14 counties that haven't had a case," Dick said.

"At what point will the governor give that local control back?" he asked.

With the school year closing, that may be a moot point now, but more generally, Dick says he'd emphasize local control if elected. He became interested in the position of state Superintendent during his work as an advocate for small and rural school districts before the state Legislature. He says he'd like to see fewer decisions made at the state level.

Dick also addressed Baesler's recent arrest for driving under the influence. "That's going to be the crux of this race," he told me. "Are [voters] going to say it's time for a change?"

"I think I've shown in my career that I am a role model of professionalism," he added.

As for his qualifications for the job, he says he's the first acting superintendent to campaign for this job in North Dakota since 1984. He did plan to seek the NDGOP's endorsement for his campaign, though those plans were derailed when the virus caused the party to cancel its state convention.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at