Tedesco might run for state superintendent next year

Staff writerNovember 17, 2011 

Wake County school board member John Tedesco is considering running for state Schools Superintendent next year and will make a decision after the Christmas holidays.

In a statement today, Tedesco said that he will decide after New Year’s Day whether to seek the job of overseeing the state’s public schools. It could pave the way for a battle between Tedesco and state Schools Superintendent June Atkinson or state Rep. Rick Glazier, who has announced he’s considering running for the position.

“While there are several opportunities for me to consider right now, at this time my focus is my coming wedding, continued service to the children of Wake County, and sharing the holidays with family and friends,” Tedesco said today in a written statement. “ In the beginning of the new year I will evaluate further.”

Since his election to the school board in 2009, Tedesco has emerged as the main spokesman for the Republican majority on the school board. He was chosen in June to be the board’s vice chairman.

Tedesco pushed for the elimination of the use of socioeconomic diversity as a factor in student assignment and has been a vocal proponent of the new choice-based student assignment plan. He’s also been outspoken about increasing educational opportunities for minority and low-income students.

But Tedesco has been the target of critics who’ve accused him of pushing an agenda that could resegregate the school system. His appearances at Tea Party rallies were used by liberal advocacy groups in campaign mailers and television ads to argue that the Republican school board candidates were backed by the Tea Party.

Democrats also used the possibility of Tedesco becoming board chairman to energize voters to oppose Republican candidates.

Democrats went on to sweep all five school board seats on this fall’s ballot, giving them a new 5-4 majority for at least the next four years.

Only Republican-held seats, including Tedesco’s, will be on the ballot in 2013.

Tedesco, 36, of Garner, has led the N.C. Center for Education Reform since it started this year.

If Tedesco were to run for state schools superintendent, he would first have to win the Republican nomination.

Atkinson, a Democrat, has held the position since winning the seat in 2004. She has said that she will decide by the end of the year if she’ll seek a third term.

Glazier is considering running because the redistricting plan adopted by the Republican-led General Assembly put the Fayetteville Democrat in the same district as another Democratic legislator.

Tedesco may not be the only Wake school board member who could leave his seat early. Republican school board member Chris Malone has announced that he’ll run for a seat in the state House next year.

If Tedesco and/or Malone were to win state office, their positions would be filled by the other school board members. This would allow Democrats to increase their 5-4 majority to as much as 7-2.

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