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NEWS RELEASES 2002-03 :: NOVEMBER 12, 2002


One Massachusetts Avenue NW • Suite 700 • Washington, DC 20001 • Phone 202.408.5505 • Fax 202. 408.8072 •

North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael E. Ward Elected President of the Council of Chief State School

Washington, D.C., November 12, 2002--Michael E. Ward, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction, was unanimously elected president of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) at its Annual Meeting in New Orleans, November 10, 2002. The presidency of CCSSO is a one-year term.

Ward has served as a member of CCSSO's board of directors for several years and has been active in the work of the organization. He has served as co-chair of CCSSO's Task Force on Strengthening Professional Practice, and as a member on the Committee on Legislation, the Committee on Internal Operations, and the Task Force on Standards and Assessments. Over the past year he served as president-elect of the organization.

"Mike's background in the implementation of many of the aspects of No Child Left Behind will be especially helpful as he assumes the presidency of CCSSO. We welcome his experience and look forward to his leadership this coming year," noted Tom Houlihan, executive director of the council.

Superintendent Ward's focus this year will be on "Seeing It Through," stressing the importance of students completing school. As president of CCSSO, Ward wants to involve state chiefs in addressing dropout rates and declining school completion rates. "We're making significant progress in improving public schools, but if students fail to see a reason to stay in school until graduation, we will have wasted precious human and fiscal resources. I believe that CCSSO can make a difference on these important issues." Ward's acceptance speech to the council will be posted on the CCSSO web site,

Ward became North Carolina's superintendent in 1996 and was re-elected to a second term in November 2000. He currently serves as chairman of the State Partnership Board for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. He is also on the board of the National Assessment Governing Board.

Prior to his election as State Superintendent, Dr. Ward served as Executive Director of the North Carolina Standards Board for Public School Administration. He has also been a superintendent of schools in Granville County, North Carolina. Earlier posts included service as a teacher and principal. Ward was honored in 1994 as North Carolina's Superintendent of the Year, and in 1988 as Granville County's Principal of the Year. Ward is a three-time graduate of North Carolina State University.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy and technical assistance on major educational issues. The council seeks members' consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress and the public.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.