State superintendent says she won’t seek second term, citing political noise and distractions

INDIANAPOLIS -- State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick announced Monday she will not seek another term as the state's top educator.

McCormick blamed the highly political culture inside the Indiana Statehouse and swirling discussions about her future and the future of the position.

"That noise can be a problem and that can be distracting and I have no patience for that," she said. "I got into this office because I said I want to do what's right for kids."

McCormick, who was elected in 2016 is in the middle of her term, met with Gov. Eric Holcomb later in the day but said she had yet to discuss the decision with Republican party leaders.

"That's kind of the beauty of me," she said. "I don't owe anyone but kids, and that's exactly where you want the state superintendent to be."

On Tuesday, McCormick issued this statement:

“The position of Chair, as structured by state leaders prior to my time in office, is irrelevant to policy outcomes. My time and attention are better utilized without this unnecessary distraction.”

One more elected term remains for the position in 2020 before it becomes appointed, a decision made by lawmakers and backed by Holcomb.

The governor released the following statement Monday afternoon:

“Dr. McCormick and I spoke about her decision not to seek the office of state superintendent again in 2020 and her legislative priorities for the next two years. I reminded her that we have more time left in this term than we’ve been here, and there’s still plenty to be accomplished.

“Dr. McCormick has given me a lot to digest as I dig into her legislative priorities. I thanked her and told her today I appreciate and respect her lifetime devotion to children and education, and that we’ll take the steps necessary to ensure Indiana has the best team working together to provide the highest quality education for children.”

The announcement was made in the midst of rolling out an aggressive legislative agenda for the 2019 session, which will include requesting a three percent funding increase for the state education budget.