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    Superintendent Juneau Biography and Resume

    Denise Juneau leads Washington state’s largest K-12 school district, a vibrant and diverse community of over 53,000 scholars.

    Denise became superintendent of Seattle Public Schools on July 1, 2018. Upon her arrival, she launched a comprehensive entry plan and a listening and learning tour. Her goal was to build a longer table at Seattle Public Schools – inviting new voices and perspectives to the conversation and intentionally engaging with families and students the district has underserved.

    From this feedback, a strategic plan was developed and will guide the district forward for the next five years. The plan is bold and focuses on supporting students and families furthest from educational justice, beginning with African American males. She also established the district’s first Student Advisory Board. Formed of student representatives from each high school, the Student Advisory Board provides student voice, advice, and unique perspectives to Superintendent Juneau throughout the school year.

    Denise’s story takes her from Head Start to Harvard. After graduating from Browning High School, located on the Blackfeet Indian reservation, Denise received her bachelor's degree in English from Montana State University. She continued her education and earned a master's in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Learning how closely tied public education and social justice were, and after teaching and working at the state education agency, Denise set her sights on a legal education and received her juris doctorate from the University of Montana School of Law.

    Superintendent Juneau is an enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa Tribes, a descendant of the Blackfeet Tribe, and the Tlingit and Haida Tribes. In 2008, she became the first American Indian woman in the country ever elected to an executive statewide office, where she became the superintendent of public instruction. In 2012, she was reelected to a second term.

    As Montana’s superintendent of public instruction, Denise developed a statewide initiative, Graduation Matters Montana, which brought schools, business leaders, community members, students and families together to work toward a common goal – that every student graduate from high school ready to succeed. In just a few years, the state’s graduation rate increased to its highest level ever recorded. She is happy to bring to Seattle, her value of student-centered decision making and her belief that great things can happen in public education when they are steeped in community.

    Denise M. Juneau Resume


    The University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, Montana 2004
    Juris Doctorate

    The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 1999
    Coursework toward Ph.D. in Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies

    Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1994
    Master of Education

    Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 1993
    Bachelor of Arts in English

    Professional Licenses

    Active Attorney Member, Montana State Bar
    Class 2 Montana certification, standard teaching license: 5-12 English, History

    Professional Experience

    Superintendent July 2018 to present
    Seattle Public Schools

    Owner and Founder January 2017 to June 2018
    Blue Cloud Consulting

    Instructional Coach July 17 to July 21, 2017
    Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction January 2009 to January 2017
    Office of Public Instruction, Helena, Montana
    As the statewide elected official for K-12 education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is the top advocate for Montana’s K-12 public education system, including 410 school districts, 821 public schools, 145,316 students, 15,086 licensed educators, and 185 full-time Office of Public Instruction employees.

    Director of Indian Education 2006-2009
    Office of Public Instruction, Helena, Montana

    Associate Attorney 2005-2006
    Monteau & Peebles, LLC, Missoula, Montana

    Judicial Law Clerk 2004-2005
    Montana Supreme Court, Helena, Montana

    Legal Intern 2003-2004
    Indian Law Clinic, The Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana, Missoula, Montana

    Research Assistant 2003-2004
    The Alexander Blewett III School of Law at The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana

    Legal Intern 2002-2004
    Smith, Doherty & Belcourt, P.C., Missoula, Montana

    Indian Education Specialist 1998-2002
    Office of Public Instruction, Helena, Montana

    Teacher 1995-1997
    Browning High School, Browning, Montana
    Taught 9th, 10th, and 12th grade English as well as independent study English courses, conflict resolution, and Blackfeet studies

    Teacher 1994-1995
    New Town High School, New Town, North Dakota
    Taught 9th and 10th grade English and coached the speech and debate team.

    Professional Affiliations

    Western Native Voice Board Member 2018
    YWCA Missoula Board Member 2017-Now
    National Dropout Prevention Network, Board Member 2014 – 2016
    Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Montana State Chief 2009 – 2017
    Education Commission of the States (ECS), Commissioner 2009 – 2017
    Education Northwest Board Member 2009 – 2017
    The Aspen Institute – Rodel Fellowship, Outstanding Leadership in American Politics 2012 Class
    Native American Law Students’ Association (NALSA) President 2003-2004
    Native American Law Students’ Association Moot Court Team 2003-2004
    Montana Indian Education Association (MIEA), Board Member 2001 – 2004
    Montana Human Rights Network Board Member 2001-2004
    Native American Graduate Students’ Association at the University of MT, President 2001-2003
    Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship Educational Leadership Cohort 1997-2004
    Missoula Indian Center Board Member 2002-2003
    Council of Native American Students at Harvard Graduate School of Education Secretary/Treasurer 1993-1994


    Juneau, D., Smoker Broaddus, M., Halliday, D. (2014). Big Sky hope: How Montana’s SEA supports turnaround in American Indian schools. In. L.M. Rhim & S. Redding (Eds), The state role in school turnaround: Emerging best practices (pp.239-247). San Francisco, CA: WestEd.A

    Carol Juneau and Denise Juneau, Indian Education for All: Montana’s Constitution at Work in Our Schools, 72 Mont. L. Rev. 111 (2011).

    Juneau, D. & Smoker Broaddus, M. (Guest Eds.) (November 2006). Special Section: Indian Education for All, Phi Delta Kappan 88:3.

    Juneau, D. & Smoker Broaddus, M. (November 2006). And Still the Waters Flow: The Legacy of Indian Education in Montana. Phi Delta Kappan 88:3, 193-197.

    Juneau, Denise (1998). Oneida Tribal Web Site. Wicaza Sa Review 13:2, 149-151.

    Honors and Awards

    Jeanette Rankin Civil Liberties Award February 2018
    ACLU of Montana
    The Jeanette Rankin Civil Liberties Award acknowledges individuals and organizations who demonstrated the strength of character and commitment to principles exemplified by Jeanette Rankin, ACLU’s first vice president in the 1920’s, and embodied in ACLU’s mission and vision.

    Who Run the World Award April 2017
    Forward Montana
    Forward Montana’s mission is to mobilize and engage young Montanans to use the democratic process to improve their lives and the lives of their fellow Montanans. This award is presented as a part of their annual “Rock Star Hall of Fame” event.

    Women Inspiring Change: International Women’s Day March 2017
    Harvard Law School
    The 4th Annual Harvard Law International Women’s Day Portrait Exhibit showcases the astounding contributions of women around the world to the areas of law and policy. The honorees—each of whom were nominated by HLS students, faculty or staff—are powerful voices in their respective fields, whether they are sitting on a high court bench, standing in front of a classroom, or marching in the streets.

    Benedict Surwill Lifetime Achievement Award May 2016
    Montana State University – Billings, College of Education
    Benedict Surwill was MSU-Billings College of Education’s dean for 23 years. Surwill’s family established the award in his honor to recognize individuals who have made a significant impact in education. 

    Leo Reano Memorial Award July 2015
    National Education Association, Human and Civil Rights Awards
    Presented to a nominee whose activities in American Indian/Alaska Native affairs significantly impact education and equal opportunities for American Indian/Alaska Natives. 

    Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education May 2015
    Harvard Graduate School of Education
    “Her work for the State of Montana school system in the areas of increasing access, fighting for the disenfranchised, improving quality, and breaking down barriers to educational opportunity for all the students in Montana — and particularly for Native American students — embodies the far-reaching impact and advancement of the field of education we are proud to recognize through this award.” 

    Patricia Whitefoot Education Award November 2014
    Potlatch Fund
    Potlach Fund is a Native-led nonprofit that provides grants and leadership development in tribal communities in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana. The Partricia Whitefoot Education Award is a part of their leadership honoring award during their annual fundraising gala. 

    Distinguished Alumni Award September 2014
    The University of Montana Alumni Association
    Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award are individuals who have distinguished themselves in a particular field and who have brought honor to the University, the state or the nation. The honor focuses on career achievement, professional honors and community service. 

    Award for Excellence for Nutrition Advocacy 2014
    Montana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
    Awarded to publicly recognize Montana individuals who have worked to optimize the health of Montanans by support and promotion of food and nutrition.

    Alumni Achievement Award October 2013
    Montana State University College of Education, Health & Human Development
    The College of Education, Health and Human Development recognizes four individuals at their annual homecoming weekend for their dedication and commitment to Montana State University, their community and the State of Montana.

    Jacqueline Lougheed World Understanding Lecturer July 2013
    Alpha Delta Kappa International
    Alpha Delta Kappa is an international honorary organization for over 30,000 women educators to build educational excellence, altruism and world understanding through fellowship. This lecture is presented every other year at their convention. The 2013 convention theme was “Connections . . . Moving Forward Together.”

    Alumni Achievement Award March 2013
    Harvard Graduate School of Education, 11th Annual Alumni of Color Conference
    Awarded in conjunction with the 11th annual Alumni of Color Conference to recognize a Harvard Graduate School of Education alumnus who demonstrates a commitment to equity in issues of race, class and education. 

    Delta Kappa Gamma Honor April 2013
    International Society for Key Women in Education

    The Food Security Council of the Montana Food Bank 2011
    Commitment to improved nutrition and consistent and
    sustainable access to nutritious food for Montana’s children

    Carroll College, Helena, Montana 2010
    Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters

    Indian Educator of the Year 2009
    National Indian Education Association