Republican Catherine Truitt, Chancellor of non-profit Western Governors University North Carolina (WGU NC), officially filed as a candidate for North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Truitt believes her unique background has led to this moment.
“I’ve had a very unusual career for someone who began as a classroom teacher,” Truitt said. “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 in Johnston County for three years and a turnaround coach before joining Governor Pat McCrory’s office as his senior advisor 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,” Truitt said. “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.”
“My career in education as a teacher, a policy maker, and a higher education trailblazer as well as my experience as a parent have shown me that leadership of K-12 education in North Carolina needs to be about two things,” Truitt continued. “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?’ 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.”
“I also believe that the best solutions for improving education for North Carolina students begin in the classrooms and local schools across our state – not in Raleigh, and certainly not in Washington, D.C.,” Truitt concluded. “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. More top down ‘solutions’ from Raleigh are not the answer.” Catherine’s husband, Jeff, is a captain in the Navy Reserves. Their three children, Susie, Chorley, and Charles, all attend Wake County Public Schools