Contending North Carolina deserves better leadership than it’s getting from Mark Johnson, Jen Mangrum, a professor in the School of Education at UNC-Greensboro, announced Monday that she will enter the race to become the state’s next superintendent of public instruction.
“Under current leadership, we have watched elected officials make decisions in their own self-interest, on a journey to obtain more power in government,” Mangrum said in a statement. “We need a teacher leading our schools, not a lawyer.”
Mangrum is the fourth Democrat to announce plans to run for the office currently held by Johnson, a Republican.
Johnson has not said whether he will seek reelection.
The other three Democrats vying for the seat are James Barrett, a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Michael Maher, assistant dean of professional education at N.C. State University and Keith Sutton, vice chairman of the Wake County Board of Education.
Mangrum isn’t new to politics. In 2018, she challenged Republican Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger for the District 30 Senate seat. Berger won the race handily with 62.75 percent of the vote.
Mangrum has taught at UNCG for the past 10 years.
She started her career teaching in Onslow County and Guilford County Schools.
After earning a doctorate in curriculum and instruction at UNCG, Mangrum was hired to create the first Elementary Education program at N.C. State University. She became the first faculty member of the new department after it opened.
“The people of North Carolina deserve the best public education system in the country and nothing less.” Mangrum said. “I have proven my commitment as a fierce advocate for students and educators and a skilled and passionate leader in our state.”