Last year, Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen defeated challenger Mellissa Romano in the state Superintendent’s race, but this week, the two met again as Arntzen presented Romano with a big award.

"Superintendent Artnzen said that she was committed to honoring whoever the foundation chose for the 2018 Teacher of the Year, and she would sign off on them," said Superintendent of Public Instruction's Office spokesman Dylan Klapmeier. "They chose an elementary teacher at Four Georgians Elementary school in Helena: Melissa Romano. Superintendent Arntzen went and met with Melissa her and her class on Tuesday and congratulated her on being the 2018 Teacher of the Year."

For the past 22 years, the Teacher of the Year selection was conducted by the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation and the teacher’s union MEA-MFT. MEA-MFT also happened to endorse Romano during last year’s race. Klapmeier says next year, the Teacher of the Year will be chosen differently.

"Beginning with the 2019 Teacher of the Year, the Office of Public Instruction is going to be leading that program going forward," Klapmeier said. "It's a program that is sponsored by our National Superintendent's Organization, the Council of Chief State School Officers, so it really make sense for the state education agency, the OPI to be administering that program."

In the meantime Arntzen says the Office of Public Instruction is preparing a “rigorous selection process” for the award.