CCSSO Board President Discusses Importance of Partnerships in Pandemic Recovery

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Washington, D.C. (March 20, 2023) – Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Board President and North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler today delivered a State of the States address at the Council’s 2023 Legislative Conference, highlighting partnerships in her state and across the country that are helping students recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We as state leaders set a vision for our education systems and set the right conditions for our school communities to thrive. But we only have so many levers to pull. We can be incredibly effective by knowing who the most impactful partners are and what strengths they bring to match our students’ needs,” Baesler said in prepared remarks.

She cited examples from across the country of how state leaders have worked with district superintendents, higher education systems and others to bolster the teacher pipeline, provide after-school programs, allow high school students to complete postsecondary credentials, develop local capacity for literacy standards and more.

In North Dakota, the state has used federal funding to create the Be Legendary School Board Leadership Institute, which trains local school board members to set student outcome goals aligned to the state’s strategic vision framework and monitor progress toward achieving them. 

Baesler also discussed the need to adapt the current education system to better serve students in a changing world and North Dakota’s successful efforts to modify state laws and regulations to give schools more flexibility. 

“I am confident that if student outcomes become and remain the highest priority, we can create the opportunities our students need to succeed in this world,” Baesler said.


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

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