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NEWS RELEASES 2005-06 :: AUGUST 23, 2005


In an historical vote, the North Carolina General Assembly Tuesday afternoon settled the 2004 race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and approved June St. Clair Atkinson as the winner. Shortly after the vote, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall presided over the swearing-in ceremony for Dr. Atkinson, the first woman elected to the post of State Superintendent. The State Superintendent also serves on the North Carolina Council of State.

Atkinson said she was excited and relieved that the election had finally been settled. "I have looked forward to this day for 10 months. I am eager to begin work on initiatives that will build on North Carolina's momentum for superior schools," Atkinson said.

Key priorities for Atkinson as State Superintendent include improving instructional quality and student learning, creating environments that enable teachers' and students' success, and ensuring that education is modern and relevant. "North Carolina is a national leader in improving our schools, but we have many concerns to address. Too many young people drop out of high school. Too many of our youngsters are not fully prepared for higher education and for work. These are issues that our state can address. I look forward to working with the State Board of Education and educators across the state in the months to come."

As State Superintendent, Atkinson heads the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, an agency which she served for nearly 28 years as a chief consultant and director in the areas of business education, career and technical education, and instructional services. A former business education teacher, Atkinson has been involved in instruction and curriculum development throughout her career.

Atkinson received a B.S. in Business Education from Radford University in 1969, an M.S. in Vocational and Technical Education from Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University in 1974, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from North Carolina State University in 1996.

She is married to Dr. William Gurley, a Cary orthodontist and former assistant professor at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. She has one sister, two nephews and one niece. She is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Cary.

For more information on Atkinson's election, please contact the Department of Public Instruction, Communications division, at 919.807.3450.

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.