Under the Dome

GOP candidate announces run for NC public school leader

Mark Johnson, a lawyer and member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth Board of Education announced Wednesday that he is running for state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Johnson, who said he taught ninth grade science at West Charlotte High School from 2006-2008 before attending law school, said state’s elected leader of public schools should put more emphasis on supporting teaching and less on testing. Johnson was elected to the local school board in 2014.

In his announcement, Johnson criticized Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, a Democrat, as “unwilling to upset the status quo.”

Atkinson announced recently she will run for a fourth term.

The superintendent runs the state Department of Public Instruction, which carries out state and federal education polices. Republicans hold a majority on the State Board of Education.

“North Carolina parents, students, and teachers deserve a state superintendent who will focus more on supporting teaching instead of testing,” Johnson said in a statement. “They need a superintendent who will make tough decisions rather than easy choices. My Democrat opponent has been working as an education bureaucrat for 40 years. As the Superintendent of Public Instruction, she’s only done what the establishment has told her to do, burdening our students and teachers with over-testing and the failed implementation of Common Core.”