Under the Dome

New superintendent Mark Johnson calls for bold action in state education

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson

State Superintendent Mark Johnson said he will bring a sense of urgency to his job running the state education department.

Johnson took over the state Department of Public Instruction this week and made his first remarks at the State Board of Education meeting on Thursday.

Johnson said his three guiding principles will be urgency, ownership, and innovation.

“Every day we don’t take bold actions for our students is a day our students lose,” he said.

He pronounced the education system outdated. “Innovation will be the key to transforming public education,” Johnson said.

Johnson, a Republican, defeated longtime Democratic superintendent June Atkinson to win the office.

The State Board of Education is challenging a new law transferring some of its powers to Johnson. A Superior Court judge put a temporary hold on the law last week. A hearing before a newly-appointed three-judge panel scheduled for Friday has been postponed.