North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson was elected to lead the state’s public schools in 2016. His career in education began as a teacher at West Charlotte High School, and he later served as a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education.
Johnson believes that we must give all students a great start and a navigable path to success. His priorities include early childhood education – making sure students are ready to start kindergarten and can read proficiently by the end of third grade; and career pathways to success – ensuring students understand early that there are many ways to be successful in the 21st Century, and whether their choice is a four-year degree, a two-year degree, military service, or a post-secondary technical training program, our schools must help prepare them to reach their American Dream.
To deliver the education our students deserve, Johnson is transforming the state’s education agency to respond better to the needs of parents, students and educators. State leaders must foster innovative solutions to attack persistent problems faced by students and teachers in our current system. We must support students and parents by updating our curriculum standards so that they make sense to parents and educators and promote progress for students. We must move away from high-stakes standardized testing and toward a system that provides accountability for students and educators while maximizing instructional time and minimizing lengthy summative tests.
Another priority for Johnson is school safety. He has worked with the legislature to increase funding for school resource officers and mental-health personnel so that one student’s challenges do not become a schoolwide tragedy.
Mark Johnson is not only an education leader and former teacher, but he is also a father of a daughter in one of North Carolina’s public elementary schools, making improving education in North Carolina a personal mission for him.