Congratulations to Republican John Barge who won the state school superintendent’s job today.
Barge had worked for former state school Superintendent Kathy Cox at the DOE, and decided to run against her in the GOP primary. He was director of career, technical and agricultural education at the DOE in 2004-2005 but resigned after 12 months, saying he wanted to go back to being a high school administrator.
Cox was assumed a sure bet for a third term, but she stunned the state by resigning her post for a think tank job in DC, throwing the July primary contest into chaos and creating an opening for the unknown Barge. Gov. Sonny Perdue was so unsettled that he tried to get an independent on the ballot.
Barge capitalized on the opportunity created when Cox resigned and landed the job. Some DOE officials who worked with Barge while he was at DOE told me they would not stay on if he won. We’ll see if folks follow through now that he has won. It may be that he’s not interested in keeping the folks with whom he clashed at DOE.