A former Dean of South Carolina State University launched his bid for South Carolina Superintendent of Education Tuesday. Tom Thompson says he has a message he wants to get across: “If we in the public education system do the job that we are suppose to do with young people, then there will be no need for facilities like the Department of Juvenile Justice because if we are successful in educating them to their fullest potential, then they leave us with a greater sense of self-confidence, of accomplishment,” says Thompson.
Thompson annonced his bid right across from the Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Columbia.
Thompson is a career educator, beginning his career as a high school math teacher, then becoming a high school principal. He was an administrator at the Department of Education, and has led teams of educators at the University of South Carolina and South Carolina State University. He explains why he wants to run: “I know the educational system in South Carolina inside and out. I know the people: the teachers, the administrators. I connect with parents and I know how to connect to business and industry with parents and business and industry being a key part to moving the educational system in the state forward. I can, I think better than any of the other candidates, forge the kind of collaborations that are needed,” says Thompson.
If elected as superintendent, Thompson says what one of the first things he would do would be: “With the economic conditions, take a look at what we have for public education and determine what’s giving us the most return on our investments because we are in a climate where we can’t continue to try to do everything. We are making drastic cuts and it’s time to take a look at what are we doing that’s working, what are we doing that’s not working, what kind of changes do we need to make?” says Thompson.
Thompson says his campaign will also focus on how quality education can reduce crime and the need for incarceration.