Charleston County School Board member Elizabeth Moffly plans to make third bid for top schools job

Elizabeth Moffly. Provided photo

The critical voice of the Charleston County School Board who thrice has made unsuccessful bids for statewide office plans to make another run for South Carolina's top schools job.

Elizabeth Moffly, a Republican, said on Wednesday she plans to run for state superintendent of education because the reforms she proposed when she ran in 2010 were well-received but still haven't come to fruition.

Moffly made it to the GOP primary runoff in 2010 but lost a close race to Mick Zais, who secured the Republican nomination with 54 percent of the vote. Zais went on to win the statewide office. He doesn't plan to seek a second term.

"I see the superintendent being more of a head lobbyist for what we need in education," she said. "If the state Board of Education and the state (Education Oversight Committee) are unwilling, then you go to the General Assembly."

Moffly also ran for state education superintendent in 2006, and she ran for the 1st Congressional District seat last year, which was won by Mark Sanford.

Moffly, 52, will face at least three other Republican challengers: Sheri Few, president of South Carolina Parents Involved in Education; Rep. Andy Patrick, R-Beaufort; and Gary Burgess, a former teacher and assistant principal who ran unsuccessfully for the position in 2010.

The Democrats who have gotten in the race include: Montrio Belton, a former teacher, principal and director of the Office of School Transformation at the state Department of Education; and Rep. Mike Anthony, D-Union, who was a teacher and football coach for more than 30 years.

Moffly has three key platform issues: opposition to Common Core State Standards, the need for multiple state diplomas and moving the state to a 10-point grading scale.

On Common Core, Moffly said she's opposed to the national standards and supports repealing them. She would like to change the state's current standards so that there are fewer but more high-quality standards, she said.

The multiple diploma issue was part of Moffly's former platform, and she said she still would like to make that a reality. College isn't for everyone, but the state's diploma is a one-size-fits-all model that is geared toward students who are going to a four-year college, she said. Students should be able to earn a technical or special needs diploma, but that's not happening, she said.

"That's something we need in this state," she said.

Also, she'd like to see the state's seven-point grading system become a 10-point system, which means instead of an "A" being 93 to 100, an "A" would be 90 to 100. Too many out-of-state students from states with 10-point grading scales are edging out South Carolina students for spots at in-state colleges, she said. This would make the state more competitive with its peers, she said.

"I am driven for the best interests of our children, and when we do what's right for our children, it's right for our teachers and parents," she said.

Moffly said she hasn't decided whether she'd run for Charleston County School Board again if she doesn't win the statewide post.

"I do like serving," she said. "And it matters."

She plans to formally announce her campaign later. Moffly lives in Awendaw, and she and her husband own Moffly Construction and Real Estate. They have four children.

Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or 843-937-5546.

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