Bev Perdue was elected North Carolina’s 73rd governor in 2008, the first woman to serve as chief executive of the state. Her trailblazing administration was dedicated to creating jobs, protecting and strengthening education, accountability and transparency, and shepherding the state through the worst economic climate since the Great Depression. During her tenure, North Carolina was one of only eight states to maintain a AAA bond rating for four consecutive years. In addition, she announced more than 100,000 new jobs and more than $22.5 billion in corporate investment during that time. While governor, North Carolina was consistently ranked as one of the best states in the country in which to do business.
Governor Perdue’s pioneering efforts in education innovation and reform are the hallmark of her more than 25 years in public service, including two terms at Lieutenant Governor and seven terms in the North Carolina Senate and House. Her Career & College: Ready, Set Go! agenda for Pre-K through post-secondary education was an innovative, comprehensive approach to keeping students on grade level, improving graduation rates and increasing the number of students seeking college degrees or career training after high school. Perdue was one of the first governors to adopt state-led rigorous common standards, and she was the first governor to direct all levels of the state’s schools, colleges and universities to adopt those standards. At the end of her tenure as governor, North Carolina’s graduation rate topped 80-percent for the first time ever.
Perdue led the transformation of North Carolina’s classrooms for the 21st century by investing in innovative education technology and creating public-private partnerships to fully integrate technology into the state’s education system. Under her leadership, North Carolina’s statewide broadband education network for public schools, universities and community colleges was created. The partnership and network are recognized as a national model because now North Carolina school districts collectively use six times the bandwidth while expending essentially the same costs they did more than five years ago. She also led a statewide reading initiative so that students were on grade level by third grade by investing in technology tools to personalize learning, invested $22 million for a School Connectivity initiative, and created the state’s first Virtual Public School. Governor Perdue’s leadership in taking innovative education technology initiatives to a statewide scale will be a lasting legacy.