Since its launch in the fall of 2018, Mark Johnson’s ncsuperintendent.com website has been criticized by many in the education world as being way too self serving for an official state communication tool.
The site hosts an assortment of awkward photo ops with students and a dedicated self-adulation page. It even offers a portrait of the state superintendent for download as a .pdf.
To be clear, the pages appear to be incomplete boilerplate areas of the website which do not actually funnel anything into Johnson’s campaign coffers and speak more to his incompetence than anything else.
Still, it’s not a good look for an elected official who’s been flooding educator inboxes with emails intended to gain political points and drive additional traffic to the site:
Johnson’s .com website was initially rolled out during 2018’s Hurricane Florence, and the state superintendent used the storm as an excuse to shut down DPI’s site and direct all its traffic to his new personal site for two days.
Staff at the North Carolina Department of Information Technology was not amused.
Documents obtained through a public records request show that, just a couple of weeks later, the NC State Auditor’s office relayed a complaint to DIT alleging the superintendent was “abusing state resources and denying citizens’ rights to legitimate resources.”
The next day, State Chief Risk Officer Maria Thompson drafted a “Notice of Non-Compliance with State Statutes” for DPI’s Chief Information Officer Michael Nicolaides, pointing out various ways the website’s launch had violated state law:
That evening, Chief Information Officer Eric Boyette pumped the brakes on the sternly-worded letter, and there is no evidence it was ever sent to DPI.Boyette-pumps-the-brakes
Mark Johnson has since filed to run for Lieutenant Governor, and it’s looking increasingly clear that his intent all along was simply to use the office of superintendent as a stepping stone to elsewhere. That would explain the inappropriate blending of his official duties with political campaigning.
North Carolina’s public schools deserve a leader who is 100% committed to working on their behalf, who is not in it for personal gain.
November 2020 can’t get here soon enough.