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NEWS RELEASES 2002-03 :: JANUARY 22, 2003


State Superintendent Mike Ward told school superintendents from around the state today that he would not seek re-election to the office of State Superintendent in 2004. Ward will have served two terms as State Superintendent when he leaves office.

Ward said he made this decision after considering what he wants to do during the final years of his education career. Teaching, involvement with church hunger and relief projects and support of his wife's ministry head this list.

The announcement was made at this time to give other candidates time to organize their campaigns and in order to ensure a smooth transition.

"I am very comfortable with and positive about this decision and want that to be clear to my friends and colleagues. What I don't want this announcement to do is generate premature good-byes. We're going to get a lot accomplished over the next 23 months. I am convinced that the best days of public schools are still before us in North Carolina, and I look forward to furthering North Carolina's reputation as the most rapidly improving system of public education in the country," Ward said.

Ward was elected to the office of State Superintendent in 1996, and re-elected in 2000. He has focused on closing achievement gaps, increasing involvement in education, promoting high standards for the profession and for students and improving the accountability system.

Mike Ward is a career educator. His past experience includes service as a local superintendent of schools. He has also been a teacher and high school principal. He is a published author, writing on topics of professional interest.

His peers elected Ward to the president's post of the Council of Chief State School Officers. He is currently serving in this position.

In 2002, Ward traveled to Afghanistan to work with hunger relief efforts and visit schools. A few weeks later, he and student leaders in North Carolina launched a project to send school supplies to the children of Afghanistan. The Student to Student Project supplied over 10,000 school supply packages to children in Afghanistan.

Dr. Ward is married to the Reverend Hope Morgan Ward. The Wards have two children: Jason, who is a third grade instructor with Teach for America in the Mississippi delta, and Brooke, who is an aspiring English teacher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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.