It was not a good year for incumbent candidates.
On Oct. 24, Glenda Ritz stood in front of a small crowd at Hopscotch Coffee to campaign for her re-election for state superintendent of public instruction.
She said she felt the same strong energy she felt in 2012 when she originally ran for state superintendent.
“The one thing I want people to know is you voted for me in 2012, and I’ve been doing my job.” Ritz said to the crowd.
However, on Nov. 8, Ritz stood in front of the Indiana Democratic Party’s election night event in Indianapolis and accepted her defeat to Republican candidate Jennifer McCormick. McCormick defeated Ritz with 52.97 percent of the vote.
Ritz encouraged the state to continue to be a loud voice for public education in the statehouse.
McCormick started in the classroom as a special education teacher and later on a language arts teacher. She became principal of Yorktown Elementary School in 2004. In 2007, she served as the assistant superintendent of Yorktown Community Schools until she moved to superintendent in 2010.
As the Yorktown Community Schools superintendent accepted her win, she commended Ritz for her service and wished her well. She said she wants to provide leadership and partnership to get things done in Indiana. McCormick ran on a platform of five non-negotiables.
These included establishing leadership and vision within the Indiana Department of Education, restoring a partnership between education and stakeholders in the state, providing districts with quality tools to enhance instruction and support teachers and putting students before politics, according to a press release from McCormick’s transition team.
“These objectives were a primary focus as I formed my transition team that I am announcing today,” McCormick said in the press release. “The team’s commitment to Hoosier students will drive critical decision-making which will ultimately impact Indiana’s education system an ensure Indiana has one of the best Departments of Education in the nation.”
McCormick will transition into her position January 9, 2017.
Samantha Hart, press secretary for the Indiana Department of Education, said McCormick and Ritz have met in order to transition forward and serve the children of Indiana.
“Superintendent Ritz is committed to ensuring a smooth and orderly transition for the Indiana Department of Education over the coming months,” Hart said. “Hoosiers deserve nothing less.”
Ritz spent much of her four years as state superintendent of public instruction focusing on moving away from learning mentalities including the “to-the-test” and using assessment as a measurement for state funding.
McCormick said the state needs to develop a credible statewide assessment system.
Her transition team is made up of 17 people.
Ritz will leave her superintendent position with the Democrats having no major elected officials to stand for Democratic education policies, with a Republican governor, largely Republican-dominated legislature and now a Republican state superintendent.
On Dec. 1, McCormick’s transition team met for the first time according to the press release. The group will help to ensure an experienced and talented Indiana Department of Education leadership cabinet can support McCormick as she prepares to take office.
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