June Atkinson announced this morning that she will run again for the State Superintendent of Public Schools.
Atkinson, who has held the position since 2005, said she chose to run for re-election because "I'd hate to leave in the third quarter when we're winning."
But she noted that there was still work to be done and that receiving the federal race to the top grant gives the state a chance to make "substantive changes in public education so that all our kids will have options when they graduate."
In a phone interview, she noted the progress the state has made increasing graduation rates — from 58 percent to 78 percent — during her tenure, and said that she would soon unveil a plan to improve reading among school children.
"Our public schools our stretched to the limit now with their resources and I want to continue to advocate and work with the General Assembly to help them understand the needs of our schools ... and the many hurdles that our schools will have to face."
Other Democrats had been awaiting Atkinson's decison.
Both Rep. Rick Glazier, a Fayetteville Democrat, and Rep. Tricia Cotham, Democrat from Mecklenburg County had been considering a run. Glazier had gone so far as to form a campaign committee.
On the Republican side, David Scholl, a Union County business man and a member of the Union County school board since 2008, has said he will run. As has Ray Martin, a teacher in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System. Wake County School Board member John Tedesco is also considering a run.