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Former West Johnston teacher running for state superintendent

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CARY ­— A former West Johnston High School teacher will seek the Republican nomination for state school superintendent in the March 3 primary election.

Catherine Truitt taught junior and senior English at the school outside Benson from 2009-12.

“I’ve had a very unusual career for someone who began as a classroom teacher,” Truitt said in a campaign news release.“I trained to be a high school English teacher but found myself teaching in all kinds of settings, including elementary school and young adults in the British school system. My husband’s career as a naval officer meant we moved every few years, so I just bloomed where I was planted.”

After her husband’s 14 years of active-duty service in the U.S. Navy, Truitt and her family moved to North Carolina. She was a classroom teacher at West Johnston and a turnaround coach before going to former Gov. Pat McCrory’s office as his senior adviser on education.

“This position provided an incredible ‘boot camp’ for someone like me who knew a lot about teaching but had not been exposed to education-related politics at the state level,” said Truitt. “The opportunity to see how all levels of education — from pre-K to workforce development — function, or not, as a continuum made me sit up and take notice. The policy decisions we make before a child even starts school can have an impact on whether they are college and career-ready and able to contribute to the economy after graduation.”

Truitt said her experience has taught her public education in North Carolina needs two things.

“First, we must recognize that every decision made about education in our state should begin with one simple question: ‘Is this what is best for students?’” said Truitt. “Second, we must chart a path that ensures there is a highly qualified teacher in all public school classrooms across the state. Anything less is unacceptable.”

Truitt said the best solutions for education begin in local classrooms, not in Raleigh or Washington.

“The Department of Public Instruction should be focused on being the voice of students and educators through partnering with local teachers, principals and superintendents and giving them the flexibility necessary to overcome the unique challenges their students, schools and school districts face,” she said.

Truitt’s husband, Jeff, is a captain in the Navy Reserve. Their three children, Susie, Chorley and Charles, all attend Wake County Public Schools.

Republican primary candidates face incumbent Superintendent Mark Johnson, who’s wrapping up his first four-year term in the statewide post.

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