COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The leader of a South Carolina teacher advocacy group announced Wednesday she will take a leave of absence from the non-profit to focus on her run for State Superintendent of Education.

Veteran educator Lisa Ellis, who founded SC for Ed, launched her campaign to replace outgoing state superintendent Molly Spearman in the spring. She went on to defeat two other Democratic candidates during the state’s June 14th primary.

Ellis has long been fighting for pay increases among South Carolina’s teachers and improvements within the state’s education system.

“This movement and my determination to continue these efforts have led me to the honor of being the Democratic nominee for South Carolina State Superintendent,” she said in her announcement. “Thus, I have determined that it is most appropriate that I take a leave of absence from my role as Executive Director of SC for Ed, effective June 21st.”

The Board of SC for Ed will maintain her responsibilities until further notice.

“I believe an organization of such importance should have the utmost trust of the public and the full attention of its leader, and I do not believe both would be possible should I remain acting Executive Director during my general election campaign,” said Ellis.

Republicans Ellen Weaver and Kathy Maness were forced into a runoff following the June 14 primary. The nominee will face Ellis in the November 2022 election.