COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina’s outgoing education leader on Tuesday announced her support for Republican nominee Ellen Weaver in the race for State Superintendent of Education.

The endorsement comes following months of controversy because Weaver did not possess a master’s degree in education leadership, as required by state law. But she candidate worked to obtain that degree, as of last week, from Bob Jones University, according to NBC affiliate WIS-TV.

“With the completion of a master’s degree in educational leadership, Ellen is fully qualified to serve, and I’m proud to support her campaign to become South Carolina’s next State Superintendent of Education,” said Spearman in her endorsement.

Spearman, who announced nearly a year ago that she would not seek another term in office, said it was important that the state’s next education leader have “proven executive leadership and management experience to run a major state agency that oversees billions of taxpayer dollars.”

“They must have trusted relationships to work closely with policymakers in the General Assembly, and they must be a team builder, bringing parents, teachers, business, faith, and other community leaders to the table to support our schools,” said Spearman.

Spearman said she has known Weaver for more than a decade and has “been impressed with her work ethic” and willingness to reach out to others and listen.

Weaver said she was honored to have support from Superintendent Spearman in this race.

“This is South Carolina’s greatest moment of education opportunity, and by all working together, we can deliver results for students, support our great teachers, and empower parents,” Weaver said.

Weaver will face Democrat Lisa Ellis in the November 8th election. Ellis is a veteran educator with more than 20 years of experience and helped start the grassroots educator group SC For Ed in 2018.

Both candidates will meet in a televised debate on November 2nd.