With four fellow Republicans gunning to take her out, Diane Douglas, Arizona’s controversial schools chief, appeared to be losing the bid for the GOP nomination late last week.
Frank Riggs, a former California congressman who ran for governor in 2014, held the lead as ballots trickled in, followed by Bob Branch, a professor of education at Grand Canyon and Liberty universities. On the Democratic side, Kathy Hoffman, a speech pathologist in the Peoria school district, took the primary election.
Douglas won the superintendent’s office in 2014 by a thin margin. Within a month of taking office, she started a high-profile fight with Gov. Doug Ducey by firing several board of education employees. More recently, she attempted to remove references to evolution in high school standards and said intelligent design should “absolutely” be taught alongside evolution. She called for teachers to be punished for going on strike, which critics called ludicrous in a state with a severe teacher shortage.
She has also championed more money for public schools and taken charter schools to task for what she sees as a lack of regulation.
A version of this article appeared in the September 05, 2018 edition of Education Week as Controversial Schools Chief in Arizona Trailing in GOP Bid for Second Term