State News

Chair of N.C. education board named governor's education adviser

Posted September 15, 2010 9:18 a.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2010 11:52 a.m. EDT

— Gov. Bev Perdue has named the chairman of the State Board of Education to posts in which he will oversee the distribution of recently awarded federal funds and a panel pushing the governor's education initiatives.

Bill Harrison's official title will be the governor's adviser for education transformation.

He will oversee funds awarded to North Carolina as part of the federal "Race to the Top" grant competition. North Carolina was one of nine states that won a share of $400 million; state leaders will fund out exactly how much later this week.

Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson will oversee the day-to-day implementation of the "Race to the Top" funds.

Harrison will also serve as chairman of the Governor's Education Transformation Commission. The panel of education and business leaders was created to guide Perdue's "Ready, Set, Go!" initiative to increase literacy and math skills by third grade, the number of students performing at or above grade, and the number of students taking college courses.

"Harrison and the commission will play an integral part in achieving the goal I have set for all schools in N.C.: that every child must graduate high school with what it really takes to succeed in a career, in college or in technical training," Perdue said in a statement Wednesday.

Harrison will receive a salary of $90,000, drawn from federal funds. He will continue to serve on the state education board, for which he is paid $15 a day plus expenses.

The former superintendent of Cumberland County Schools, Harrison was appointed by Perdue in January 2009 as chairman of the State Board of Education and chief executive officer of the state Department of Public Instruction. He stepped down as CEO after courts ruled that the role undermined the constitutional authority of the state superintendent of public instruction.

Members of the State Board of Education recently re-elected him as their chairman.