Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On Thursday’s Talk Back show, KGVO listeners for the first time met Susie Hedalen, who announced that she was running as a Republican to replace OPI Superintendent Elsie Arntzen, who will be termed out in 2024.

Hedalen, currently the Superintendent of the Townsend, Montana school district, first emphasized the importance of a safe and secure environment for Montana’s schoolchildren.

Hedalen Emphasized the Importance of Basic Courses for School Children

“Parents deserve and have the right to know what their students are learning and that they are safe,” began Hedalen. “Because of that, we need to get back to focusing on learning, and our classrooms need to be that place of learning. Reading writing, math, science, and history are so important. In fact, in history, children were taught to write in cursive because our Constitution is written in cursive. We cannot lose those incredible foundations and those need to be what we are focusing on in education.”

One caller asked Hedalen if there would be a ‘woke’ bias in Montana schools if she was elected.

“We have got to make sure that our teachers can focus on those subjects and teach students without bias,” she said. “If we are doing that great work, we will see our test scores increase. We need to remove that fear that parents have and make sure that they feel comfortable bringing their students to school and know what they're going to learn every day.”

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Hedalen said Students Must Spend at Least 90 Minutes a day on Reading and Literacy

Hedalen made a strong point of emphasis on teaching children the importance of reading and literacy in the classroom.

“We need to be spending at least an hour and a half on reading and literacy in the mornings in school," she said. "If students aren't on the trajectory to read by third grade, we need to be putting those supports and things in place so that they have that opportunity. And we need to catch that early on with those interventions.

School security was a topic that Hedalen addressed on Thursday’s Talk Back show.

“One of the huge movements right now is threat assessment, and that is the direction we have shifted to, and that's to ensure that we catch these issues before they occur,” she said. “So watching for those red flags and training our staff and our schools in that effort, because a lot of times when research has shown and the studies have been done on the schools that have had unfortunate events, there were telltale signs, and so we want to get ahead of that, so we're doing a ton of threat assessment training.”

Current Superintendent Elsie Arntzen has already served two terms and cannot run again.

See How School Cafeteria Meals Have Changed Over the Past 100 Years

Using government and news reports, Stacker has traced the history of cafeteria meals from their inception to the present day, with data from news and government reports. Read on to see how various legal acts, food trends, and budget cuts have changed what kids are getting on their trays.

Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer