June St. Clair Atkinson (D) and Mark Johnson (R) are running for the North Carolina Superintendent of Public Schools office with goals of improving the NC school systems.
Atkinson, the incumbent Superintendent, is running for reelection. The first woman to hold this position, she was first elected on November 3, 2004 and is running for her fourth term.
Atkinson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Education from Radford University, a Master’s Degree in Vocational and Technical Education from Virginia Tech, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from North Carolina State University.
Atkinson began her career as a public school business teacher in Roanoke, VA and then in Charlotte, NC. Before being elected Superintendent she worked on the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) as a chief consultant and director in business education, career and technical education, and instructional services.
Atkinson is also the author of several educational texts on business and computer literacy. Her accomplishments include over twenty awards including Champion of Children Award from the North Carolina Association of School Administrators, the State Policy Maker of the Year Award from the National Association for State Educational Technology Directors, and the North Carolina Association of Educators Inclusive Leadership Award.
Atkinson is also proud of what she has accomplished in office and stated on her campaign website that “Our graduation rate has increased from 68 percent when I first became state superintendent to an all time high of nearly 86 percent this past year.”
According to her campaign website, Atkinson’s priorities are to ensure that every child’s teacher is paid a competitive salary, has access to necessary resources, and has classrooms equipped with new technology.
“I advocate for teacher raises, more resources, and more opportunities for each child,” Atkinson stated.
“When North Carolina voters elected me as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, they trusted me to put students first and to work tirelessly on behalf of public education. By listening to teachers, parents, and students and traveling to all 115 school districts, I have used fresh and innovative ideas to improve education,” Atkinson said.
The Superintendent challenger is At-Large Board Member of the Winston Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education Mark Johnson.
Johnson taught at West Charlotte High school before he received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently runs a legal practice that specializes in business law and is corporate counsel at an international technology company based in Winston-Salem.
Johnson serves as a chair for Young Leaders United and as a board member for the Northwest Piedmont Workforce Development Board.
Johnson also stated on his campaign paged that he decided to run “after constantly hearing frustrations from constituents and school leaders about the lack of urgency at the top of the agency to reform education.”
Johnson’s priorities are to decrease testing, focus the professional growth of teachers, increase access to technology in all schools, increase support for local initiatives, and make high school diplomas more meaningful so students leave school ready for a career or college.
“I taught in one of our state’s most challenged schools because I believe every student should receive and excellent education,” Johnson stated. “I want to use my experience as a father, a teacher, and a small business advisor to make sure every child in our community has the tools they need to succeed and our teachers receive the support and appreciation they so very much deserve.”
Both Johnson and Atkinson will be on the November election ballot.