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North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction: Wikis


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The North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction is the elected head of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and oversees the public school systems of the state. The Superintendent is currently an elected member of the North Carolina Council of State, chosen in a partisan election every four years. As of 2008, North Carolina is one of 14 states in which the superintendent is elected, and one of only 8 in which that election is partisan. [1]

The Superintendent of Public Instruction also serves as a member of the North Carolina State Board of Education, the body which holds most of the authority over elementary and secondary education in the state.

The office became an elected one under the North Carolina Constitution of 1868.

The current Superintendent of Public Instruction is June Atkinson.

Superintendents of Public Instruction

  • Calvin H. Wiley, 1853-1866
  • (office abolished), 1866-1868
  • Samuel S. Ashley, 1868-1871
  • Alexander McIver, 1871-1872
  • James Reid (see note below)
  • Alexander McIver, 1872-1875
  • Stephen D. Pool, 1875-1876
  • John Pool, 1876-1877
  • John C. Scarborough, 1877-1885
  • Sidney M. Finger, 1885-1893
  • John C. Scarborough, 1893-1897
  • Charles H. Mebane, 1897-1901
  • Thomas F. Toon, 1901-1902
  • James Y. Joyner, 1902-1919
  • Eugene C. Brooks, 1919-1923
  • Arch T. Allen, 1923-1934
  • Clyde A. Erwin, 1934-1952
  • Charles F. Carroll, 1952-1969
  • A. Craig Phillips, 1969-1989
  • Bob Etheridge, 1989-1996
  • Michael E. Ward, 1997-2004
  • Patricia N. Willoughby, 2004-2005 (interim)
  • June Atkinson, 2005-Present


Governor Tod R. Caldwell appointed Alexander McIver after Samuel S. Ashley resigned. Rev. James Reid (1795-1872) was elected as Superintendent in the state general election of August 1872, but never took office due to his death in November of that year. [2]

Despite the fact that Alexander McIver had not vacated his office, Caldwell appointed Kemp P. Battle Superintendent upon Reid's death. Battle took the oath of office on January 15, 1873. McIver sued and the North Carolina Supreme Court found in favor of McIver, saying he was entitled to remain in office until the next general election (1874).

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