On January 2nd, republican Elsie Arntzen will take charge as the new Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction. It’s a job that no republican has been able to hold for decades.

"It's been close to thirty years since a republican has held this position and we have 411 very unique school districts across our state with about 145,000 students that reside in our school class rooms," Artnzen said. "I'm very excited about this, but we have a lot of work to do."

During the campaign the union that represents public school teachers in the state, MEA-MFT, spent thousands of dollars backing Democrat Mellissa Romano and attacking Arntzen, Arntzen says she was disappointed in the union she used to walk the picket line for.

"To have them dishonor a teacher in that manner... especially with those negative ads, was very challenging, but I rose above it," Artnzen said. "So is the union going to be at the table in discussions? Yes, of course they are, but it is going to be a round table and the center of that table is going to be kids."

Arntzen says one of her main objectives is to put education control back in the hands of school districts and more trust in local trustees. The last republican to hold the office was Ed Agrenbright, whose term ended in 1989.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM