June St. Clair Atkinson is the first woman elected State Superintendent of the Public Schools of North Carolina and served in this position from August 2005 through December 2016. As State Superintendent, Dr. Atkinson understood the importance of improving, teaching, learning, and creating school environments that encourage student success while keeping education modern and relevant and graduating every student career and college ready in leading the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). When she took office, North Carolina's graduation rate was 68% and through her work moved to an all-time high of 86% in 2016.
Dr. Atkinson has always focused on growing educators and students.
As State Superintendent, Dr. Atkinson oversaw almost 1.5 million students in over 2,500 public schools. In addition to her being a high school business teacher and community college instructor, she has served as a chief consultant and director in the areas of business education, career and technical education, and instructional services within the NCDPI. Dr. Atkinson has also been involved in instructional leadership and curriculum development throughout her career.
She has received numerous awards over the years including recent accolades such as the Champion of Children Award from the North Carolina Association of School Administrators, the State Policy Maker of the Year Award from the National Association for State Educational Technology Directors, and the North Carolina Association of Educators Inclusive Leadership Award. In addition, Dr. Atkinson has held many professional offices including President for the National Council of Chief State School Officers.
Dr. Atkinson received a bachelor’s degree in Business Education from Radford University, a master’s degree in Vocational and Technical Education from Virginia Tech, a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from North Carolina State University, and an honorary doctorate from Campbell University.