In 1858, there was a territorial provision made for a superintendent of public instruction to be elected by popular vote. Henry H. McAfee was the first superintendent to be elected. Briefly, the duties of the territorial superintendent at that time were as follows:
General supervision of schools.
Recommend uniform series of texts (this provision was eliminated by the State Constitutional Congress which forbids state adoptions of textbooks).
File and make available all county superintendents’ reports.
Prepare in print forms of records.
Report regularly to the legislature the condition of the schools.
Prepare and distribute a course of study.
In 1865, a law abolished the office of territorial superintendent and provided that the territorial treasurer discharge the duties of the office for $100 per year.
In 1870, the eighth territorial assembly recreated the office of public instruction at a salary of $1,000 per year.
When Colorado became a state in 1876, Joseph Shattuck of Greeley became the first superintendent of public instruction. The qualifications for the office were that the person must be a citizen of the state and at least 21 years of age. Also at that time the Board of Education consisted of the Attorney General, Secretary of State, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The duties, however, changed very little from the days of the territorial superintendency.