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Report: State superintendent Mark Johnson hires McCrory staffer for communications

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson

North Carolina’s top public schools administrator has hired another former staffer of ex-Gov. Pat McCrory, according to a WRAL report Tuesday.

Superintendent Mark Johnson has tapped Graham Wilson, a former press secretary for McCrory, to serve as his outreach coordinator.

Wilson’s job is one of multiple positions expected to come from a $700,000 budget allocation from GOP budget writers this year to expand Johnson’s office.

The Republican superintendent’s mired in a power battle with the State Board of Education in court, and has indicated that he needs more personnel that report directly to him and not to the board.

From WRAL:

In his new role, Wilson will assist Johnson with communications and outreach related to the superintendent’s initiatives and provide additional assistance to the state Department of Public Instruction’s communications team, according to DPI communications director Drew Elliot.

Wilson is the second hire the superintendent has made with the money lawmakers granted him. He previously hired a research assistant and project coordinator.

The money allows Johnson to create up to 10 full-time positions and hire staff without approval of the State Board of Education, a key provision lawmakers provided as he battles the state board in court over control of the public school system.

Johnson has said he plans to hire a chief of staff and a chief innovation officer as well, but it’s unclear when he will make those hires. He has declined to say what other positions he may create.

He recently hired an associate superintendent of early education and head of school business modernization, but those positions are not funded from the $700,000. They are paid from separate funds approved by lawmakers for those areas.

Wilson won’t be the first McCrory worker in Johnson’s office.

Chloe Gossage, Johnson’s senior legislative director chief budget adviser, is a former policy director for McCrory. Johnson has also hired former McCrory attorney Lindsey Wakely to serve as his senior policy adviser and chief legal counsel.

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