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NEWS RELEASES 1997-98 :: APRIL 30, 1998


Dr. Richard Thompson, North Carolina's Deputy State Superintendent, has been selected as the new State Superintendent of Mississippi. The Mississippi State Board of Education met this morning, and offered the position to him, effective July 1.

Thompson has been Deputy State Superintendent since December 1995, when he was hired by the State Board of Education to oversee implementation of The ABCs of Public Education. That program, now in its second year statewide, has involved expanded statewide accountability, more local control and a strong emphasis on the basics of reading, writing and mathematics.

"My two and a half years as North Carolina's Deputy Superintendent have been personally and professionally rewarding," Thompson said. "I believe we have accomplished great things for children and have better positioned the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction to guide our public schools. I appreciate having had the opportunity to provide leadership to public schools at such a dynamic time."

State Superintendent Mike Ward said that he is very pleased for Richard and knows "that he will serve the children of Mississippi with the same level of energy and perseverance with which he has served the public schools of North Carolina."

Thompson, a North Carolina native, formerly served as Mississippi State Superintendent from 1990-92. He left that position to direct the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Cullowhee. Thompson also has served as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of North Carolina General Administration. A former teacher and principal in North Carolina, Thompson has also served as local schools superintendent in Lexington, NC; and Tupelo, Miss.

Thompson has maintained ties to Mississippi since he left the state in 1992. He has one daughter who lives there, and many other close ties.

Thompson is a graduate of Elon College, and holds a doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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.