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The Daily Tar Heel

Jen Mangrum and Catherine Truitt to face off in November superintendent election

Jen Mangrum

Photo courtesy of Jen Mangrum.

With current state superintendent Mark Johnson foregoing a reelection bid to run for lieutenant governor, North Carolina voters have chosen their candidates for the N.C. superintendent of public instruction election in November. 

UNC-Greensboro professor Jen Mangrum won the Democratic primary and Chancellor of Western Governors University North Carolina Catherine Truitt won the Republican primary, according to unofficial vote counts. 

Truitt, who spent part of her career as a high school English teacher, emphasized alternative forms of higher education in her platform. 

Mangrum’s platform included increasing equity throughout school districts, providing a safe school environment and bringing respect to educators across North Carolina. 

There were four candidates on the Democratic primary ballot in addition to Mangrum: 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 and President of the N.C. Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators Michael Maher. 

On the Republican ballot, N.C. Rep Craig Horn (D-Union) failed to receive a majority vote, according to unofficial counts. 

Johnson, who was elected to the position of state superintendent in 2016, has recently been in the news for saying he wants to repeal state Common Core education standards. 

Although many voters at the polls said they were more focused on national elections, voters who had exposure to the education system in North Carolina said they cared about education in North Carolina. 

UNC senior Hayley Russo said public education was one of two issues that were important to her as she considered who to vote for. 

“Growing up in the state of North Carolina, that’s something — especially public education — that is very important to me,” she said. 

Carrboro resident Christoph Sutts, 42, said he felt fairly informed about local elections related to education because of his history as a teacher.

“I work with teachers, I’m a former teacher, I’m a teacher educator now, so that one’s important to me,” he said. 

Mangrum and Truitt will face off in the general election on Nov. 3. 


@DTHCityState |

Jordan Barish and Emma Cunningham-Bradshaw contributed reporting. 

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