Running public schools is the public’s business. The owner of every North Carolina school building is not the school board, not the superintendent, not the county commissioners, not even the General Assembly. The people of North Carolina own the buildings, employ the teachers, and select the decision-makers on all things, electing officials to conduct the people’s business. I have been one of those public officials for the past eight years, and I ask for your support to serve another four as your state superintendent.
I have always believed that being a representative of the people means a couple of key things:
1) It means my door (virtual and otherwise) is always open. My cell phone # is 919-590-5754. I welcome feedback from anyone who has something to say about our schools.
2) It means I am committed to being transparent in the actions I take as your public servant. Specifically, I believe that rather than waiting for public records request (which take time and effort away from meaningful staff work), an easy solution is just to post all my emails on a listserv for anyone to read, anytime. Local governments are doing this across North Carolina already (except, of course, for certain protected communications about specific employees). There are no-cost options available to make this happen right away. From day 1 of my service as your state superintendent, I will make sure this happens.
I can’t promise that I’ll always have answers that everyone will like. But I can promise that I have nothing to hide and will engage with anyone in the community. Because “stronger together” is not just a slogan—it it is the way I lead and the way I conduct public business. I have experience doing this already, and will continue to be a radical in transparency on your behalf at the Department of Public Instruction.