Current State Superintendent Mark Johnson is running for lieutenant governor, leaving the chair for North Carolina’s superintendent open to many candidates on both the Democrat and Republican sides.
For the Republicans, the candidates running are N.C. Rep. Craig Horn (D-Union) and Catherine Truitt, chancellor of Western Governors University North Carolina.
On the Democratic side, the candidates include former Wake County School Board member Keith Sutton, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools Board Member James Barrett, former teacher and owner of CityPolitical Magazine Constance Lav Johnson, President of the N.C. Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators Michael Maher and Jen Mangrum, a professor at UNC-Greensboro.
Truitt, who is running against Horn in the Republican primary, said one of the main messages of her campaign is emphasizing alternative forms of higher education.
“A lot of kids graduate from high school in North Carolina, start a degree at a university and don't finish,” she said. “So what other pathways are available? Community colleges, apprenticeships, alternate forms of seeking a degree like a micro-bachelor's, or stackable credentials.”
Truitt spent time as a teacher in a high school, a piece of her resume that she said distinguishes herself from Horn.
“I think that a superintendent is someone who should have been a teacher for a significant period of time who understands what failing schools look like and how they need to be fixed,” she said. “What needs to happen to make them better.”
Horn said his background in the legislature and knowledge of the political process is what will be attractive to voters.