RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – June Atkinson announced Thursday she will run for re-election for the North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2016.
Atkinson, a Democrat, has been in the position since 2005 and oversees nearly 1.6 million students at over 2,500 public schools throughout the state.
“When I was first elected state superintendent, the graduation rate in our state was just 68 percent, but it has increased to an all-time high of 86 percent over the past 10 years,” said Atkinson. “I’m proud of the tremendous progress that we’ve made, but there is still work to do.
“We must continue to modernize our schools with new technology and support our teachers who deserve respect, resources, and more compensation for their work with students. We must change testing so that it will be more responsive to student, parent, and teacher needs. I ask the people of North Carolina to allow me to serve students, educators, and citizens for another four years.”
The superintendent of public schools is a member of the Council of State, a key part of state government. The council will have a different look after the election, with Attorney General Roy Cooper announcing he will run for governor and State Treasurer Janet Cowell announcing she will not seek re-election.
Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, a Republican, will run for re-election but is expected to face a tough challenger in Democrat Charles Meeker, a former Raleigh mayor.
Atkinson is the first woman elected to serve as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. She has served as a high school business teacher, consultant and elected official.
She is married to Dr. William Gurley, a Cary orthodontist. She is a member of The First United Methodist Church of Cary.