Education leader’s race raises qualification questions in SC

Republican Ellen Weaver, left, will face Democrat Lisa Ellis, right, in the general election in...
Republican Ellen Weaver, left, will face Democrat Lisa Ellis, right, in the general election in November for state superintendent of education.(Live 5/File)
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 9:13 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - In the race for South Carolina education superintendent, questions about the Republican nominee’s qualifications have arisen.

That comes after lawmakers in 2018 passed a requirement that the position-holder have a master’s degree.

Ellen Weaver, the CEO of conservative think tank Palmetto Promise Institute and GOP nominee, currently lacks a master’s degree. After winning the GOP primary Tuesday, Weaver told WIS-TV that evening she will complete her master’s degree in educational leadership in October.

“I think tonight we saw that voters understand that the real qualifications for this job is leadership and a strong backbone,” she said. “That said, I will fully fulfill all the legal obligations to hold this job.”

Kevin Hall, who has served as a legal counsel to the South Carolina Republican Party, emphasized that the candidate must possess a master’s degree on inauguration day — not on election day.

Weaver defeated fellow Republican Kathy Maness, the candidate outgoing Education Superintendent Molly Spearman endorsed for the Republican nomination.

Weaver will face Democrat Lisa Ellis, the founder of the teacher advocacy group SC for Ed, in November. Ellis recently announced she would step away from her role with the organization to focus on the campaign.

The state’s general election is set for Nov. 8.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.