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State Superintendent Mark Johnson to begin listening tour in Winston-Salem

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson

North Carolina’s new Superintendent of Public Instruction, Republican Mark Johnson, is beginning his listening tour tomorrow in his home district of Winston-Salem.

While he did not provide any additional details of his plans, the superintendent announced his first stop on the tour Thursday, weeks after he stated his goal of touring the state for the remainder of the year.

The tour will begin at a Winston-Salem high school, although press will reportedly not be allowed to join. Prior to his election as state superintendent, Johnson was a corporate attorney in Winston-Salem and a local school board member.

Johnson, who defeated longtime Democrat June Atkinson in November, told members of the State Board of Education last month that he planned to transform the state’s “outdated” public education system.

Although he has declined to offer any specific plans, Johnson pledged to return with “action items” following the completion of his listening tour. The superintendent has either not responded or declined multiple interview requests from Policy Watch.

In the meantime, Johnson and members of the state board are entangled in a pending lawsuit over the powers of his office, after the Republican-led state legislature moved in December to consolidate public school powers in the newly-elected conservative’s office rather than the state board.

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