From the NC Superintendent of Public Instruction

February 2019

Parents and caregivers,

As you know, your child is unique. Just as all students have different strengths and likes, all students’ pathways to success will be different.

For too long, many education leaders made students feel that the only way to success was to earn a four-year degree. Teachers, other educators, and employers know this is not true. Together with parents, we need to work to change this incorrect narrative.

Students can find successful careers right after high school, join the armed forces or other public services, attend community college, or – if it is what is right for them – seek four-year degrees. Each one of these choices is a pathway to success.

Please visit to find out about high-demand career pathways in North Carolina that your son or daughter can take to success.

For young students, let’s keep them on track learning their fundamental skills. For students in middle and high school, let’s start having conversations about the many great opportunities in fulfilling and fruitful careers that exist in North Carolina, such as web developers, electric line workers, dental hygienists, and first responders.  Not all great careers require a four-year degree.

Thank you for helping us encourage every student to find their right path, work hard, and reach their American Dream!

Mark R. Johnson

Mark Johnson
NC Superintendent of Public Instruction


P.S.: Right now, my 6-year-old daughter wants to be a veterinarian, a park ranger, a teacher, a baker, a gymnast, and a mommy. We have time to narrow that list, and I will support whichever paths she chooses!