COLUMBIA — Meka Childs picked up an endorsement from her former boss, state Superintendent of Education Mick Zais, who Childs hopes to succeed.
"A woman of impressive intellect and absolute integrity, Meka will fight tirelessly to ensure that education decisions are made by parents, teachers, and local school districts here in South Carolina, not by bureaucrats in Washington," Zais said in a statement announcing the endorsement.
"As a product of our public schools, a Duke graduate, a former teacher, and a past education policy adviser to Governor (Mark) Sanford, Meka will be a strong advocate of empowering parents to make effective educational decisions for their children and protecting South Carolinas right to determine education practices in the Palmetto State," he said.
Childs worked at the S.C. Department of Education as Zais' deputy superintendent for school effectiveness for the last four years until she stepped down recently to run for office. She is one of eight Republicans who have said they are seeking the GOP nomination for the seat. Zais, serving his first term, is not seeking re-election.
Zais told The Buzz Thursday that Childs understands education policy and possesses the business skills that will help her lead the Education Department. She also was the primary author of the state's application to get a waiver from No Child Left Behind .
"She's got the senior executive leadership experience. She's proven her skills. That is a very specific skill set," he said. "Being a teacher no more qualifies you to be state superintendent than being an NFL football player qualifies you to be the commissioner of the NFL. Meka has been a teacher, she has been a coach, she has worked in our middle schools in South Carolina, but being a nice person and being a teacher is not enough for this job."
Zais' endorsement of Childs comes on the same day that Republicans are gathering to raise money for the candidate.
Katon Dawson, a former S.C. Republican Party chairman, is hosting the fundraiser along with former state commerce secretary Joe Taylor. Zais will attend the fundraiser as a special guest.