All three northwest states elect a superintendent of public instruction; Idaho's is partisan, Oregon's and Washington's nonpartisan. But that's often just a formality; often, voters have a pretty good idea of what they're getting on the partisan scale.
Oregon's superintendent, Susan Castillo, was appointed and later elected to the state Senate as a Democrat, and was an assistant Democratic floor leader in 1999 and 2001. She won election as superintendent in 2002 - defeating incumbent Stan Bunn, who had been a Republican state legislator - and 2006, with about two-thirds of the vote.
He has substantial education background in education (including a doctorate),but that doesn't seem to have been a top focus on his legislative work. His 2008 voter guide description contained these issue headings: "Southern Oregon Roots, Southern Oregon Values," "Oregon's Conservative Voice for Healthcare Reform," "Public Safety is a Top Priority," "Advocate for Seniors and the Disabled," "Defender of Property and Second Amendment Rights" - nothing related to schools.
But we should be hearing more before long.