Republican Incumbent Endorses Democratic Candidate Valarie Wilson to Succeed him as Georgia’s State School Superintendent
Atlanta, GA – Today, Republican incumbent John Barge endorsed Democratic candidate Valarie Wilson to succeed him as Georgia’s next State School Superintendent.
“Valarie Wilson is the only candidate in this race for State School Superintendent who understands the real issues facing our public education system in Georgia,” Barge said. “She knows what initiatives are working and knows where changes need to be made to allow teachers to teach. She also understands that Education in Georgia is headed in the right direction with gains in student achievement on all national indicators. Georgia ranks higher on every indicator than we did four years ago. She knows teachers have been faced with significant amounts of transition over the last several years and more change would be frustrating to teachers.
“Education leaders also know that, despite the rhetoric, they have taken massive hits to their budgets over the last four years. Valarie Wilson has and will continue to be a staunch advocate for the return of resources to our public schools. Valarie’s commonsense approach to this job is exactly what Georgia needs to continue making improvements in our public schools. That is why I wholeheartedly endorse her candidacy for State School Superintendent.”
Barge made the announcement with Wilson at Tucker High School before a bi-partisan crowd of parents, educators, and members of the community.
“Dr. Barge has been a true advocate for children, so it is a great honor to have his support in my bid for State School Superintendent,” said Wilson. “I’ve been privileged to work alongside him during my tenure on the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education and as a member and President of the Georgia School Boards Association, and while we represent both sides of the aisle, our shared commitment to the students of Georgia transcends party lines. Our public education system needs to focus on what’s best for children, not partisan politics. This is only one step in what I promise to be four years of continuous collaboration.”
BACKGROUND – More about Valarie
Wilson joined the school board of the City Schools of Decatur in 2002 and became the moving force behind the establishment of the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center. As Board Chair from 2005-2011, Wilson helped to turn around the finances of the district. Through a forceful—if sometimes painful—reorganization, the district was able to move forward with no teacher furloughs or shortening of the school year.
Wilson joined the Georgia School Boards Association in 2009 and was its president in 2012-2013. She helped create the Vision for Public Education in Georgia, an educational framework for boards that included input from board members, superintendents, teachers, teaching colleges, elected officials, parents and students. More than 80 percent of state school board systems have begun to implement the Vision’s recommendations.
Wilson most recently served as Executive Director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, Inc. Previously she was Director of the Human Services Department in Fulton County, responsible for an annual budget of $26 million and directing programs that serve the elderly, children and youth. She has also been Director of Fulton County’s Office of Aging.
A native of Swainsboro, Georgia, Wilson is a graduate of Clark College and took graduate courses in public administration at Troy State University. She now lives in Decatur with her husband, Carter, and son, Nicholas.