NC superintendent hires McCrory's former press secretary

Posted December 5, 2017 10:51 a.m. EST
Updated December 5, 2017 11:19 a.m. EST

North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson at Ephesus Elementary School in Chapel Hill on March 15, 2017.

— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson has hired Graham Wilson as his community outreach coordinator, a new position Johnson created after receiving $700,000 from the General Assembly to staff his office.

Wilson, who will make about $72,000 in his new role, previously served as press secretary for former Gov. Pat McCrory. He is not the first McCrory staffer Johnson has hired. Lindsey Wakely, who serves as the superintendent's senior policy adviser and chief legal counsel, was McCrory's deputy general counsel.

In his new role, Wilson will assist Johnson with communications and outreach related to the superintendent’s initiatives and provide additional assistance to the state Department of Public Instruction's communications team, according to DPI communications director Drew Elliot.

Wilson is the second hire the superintendent has made with the money lawmakers granted him. He previously hired a research assistant and project coordinator.

The money allows Johnson to create up to 10 full-time positions and hire staff without approval of the State Board of Education, a key provision lawmakers provided as he battles the state board in court over control of the public school system.

Johnson has said he plans to hire a chief of staff and a chief innovation officer as well, but it's unclear when he will make those hires. He has declined to say what other positions he may create.

He recently hired an associate superintendent of early education and head of school business modernization, but those positions are not funded from the $700,000. They are paid from separate funds approved by lawmakers for those areas.