State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson announced Thursday she will seek a fourth term in a statement that touted North Carolina’s increased graduation rate.
Atkinson, a Democrat, was elected to the office in 2005, when the legislature settled a close race between her and Republican Bill Fletcher. She won easy victories in 2008 and 2012. Atkinson runs the state Department of Public Instruction, but works with a Republican-dominated State Board of Education.
Atkinson, 67, had less than $10,000 in her campaign account at the end of June, fueling speculation that she would not seek reelection.
“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 ten years,” Atkinson said in a statement. “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.”