COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced Wednesday she will not seek re-election in 2022.

Spearman, who has been serving as Superintendent of Education since January 2015, said she will continue her term through January 2023 and plans to keep working to pull the state out of the coronavirus pandemic “stronger than before while advocating for the needs of our students, educators, and families.”

Spearman said South Carolina was using nationalized Common Core State Standards, had one of the lowest teacher pay rates in the country, had a dangerous, antiquated school bus fleet when she first took office.

“Despite these challenges, we have made tremendous progress. We brought together South Carolina’s brightest educators, parents, and business leaders to write our own South Carolina College and Career Ready Standards. We pushed for additional funding for teacher salaries – raising starting pay nearly twenty percent and across the board salaries ten,” she said.

A strong public education system that offers every student, no matter where they live, the opportunity to be prepared for a successful and productive life is key to the future of our state, nation, and world. I have been honored to serve and devote my life to this important work first as a teacher and principal, then as a legislator, senior staff member at the Department, an education association leader, and finally as State Superintendent of Education.

Molly Spearman

She went on to say, “We put a laser focus on modernizing our school bus fleet through innovative purchasing and technological advances giving us one of the most efficient fleets in the nation. We retooled our system of school improvement ensuring that each struggling school and district had boots-on-the-ground support day in and day out along with a plan of action for improvement. We helped small districts prepare for the future while expanding opportunities for students through shared services and consolidation.”

In her message Wednesday, Spearman noted that she felt fortunate to have played a role in the changes. “I feel have put our students, parents, educators, and state in a position that poises us to meet the challenges that lie ahead in the face of a global pandemic,” she said.

She now plans to devote more attention to her family.