South Carolina Superintendent of Education Mick Zais has decided not to run for a second term next year, opening up the field to at least two challengers.
Zais, a Republican, indicated that at one point he had strongly considered another run for the post in 2014, but The State newspaper quoted him as saying that he ultimately reached the “difficult decision” not seek a second term—he had previously pledged to serve no more than two four-year terms.
“I was preparing for, and looking forward to, a re-election campaign. I’m confident I would have run a strong campaign and would have been re-elected,” Zais said.
Back in 2010, Zais defeated Democrat Frank Holleman to win his post. He oversaw the implementation of A-F school accountability in the state, and supported the expansion of charters and other school-choice programs in the state, which is set to implement a new tax-credit scholarship program for special-needs students in 2014. He was also outspoken in his opposition to the Common Core State Standards, which the state adopted in 2010. South Carolina saw an anti-common-core push in the legislature back in early 2012.
For his stance on charters and choice, state Democratic Party Executive Director Amanda Loveday said in a statement that Zais’ decision not to run again was “the first good thing” Zais had done during his tenure.
At least two Democrats have said they plan to seek the position next year, and state Rep. Andy Patrick, a Republican who plans to push for a new system of teacher evaluations in the state through legislation next year, said prior to Zais’ announcement on Dec. 13 that he was mulling a run for the state superintendent’s spot.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.