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Operation Xcel Shine the Spotlight on Beverly Perdue, NC's 1st Female Governor - an Education Reformer

Beverly Perdue, North Carolina's Pro-Education Governor

Beverly Perdue, the first female governor of North Carolina from 2009 to 2013, was a strong proponent for improving education in the state because of her passion for education, which started well before her political career.  Mrs. Perdue obtained her B.A. in History, her M.A. in Community College Administration, and her Ph.D. in Administration and taught in the public school system in North Carolina.  During her twenty-five years of public service in the State House and Senate, as Lieutenant Governor, and while she was the governor, Perdue advocated for improving education through innovative reforms.  Perdue assessed that, on average, high school graduates within the state required remediation before they were ready for college, but that should not be the case.  Students whose aptitude shows that they are not ready for college meant that the schools failed to ensure they grasped the material.  As a result, she implemented her most memorable educational reform—Career & College: Ready Set Go! agenda, a robust approach that ensures students from Pre-K through post-secondary education perform “on grade level, improving graduation rates and increasing the number of students seeking college degrees or career training after high school” (Edsurge, 2024).  This modeled one of the first state-directed rigorous standards for public schools, colleges, and universities. North Carolina achieved its highest graduation rate ever, exceeding 80%.


Perdue contributed significantly to the modernization of North Carolina's classrooms. He invested in innovative education technology and established public-private partnerships to comprehensively integrate technology into the state's education system. During her tenure, North Carolina's statewide broadband education network was established to cater to the needs of public schools, universities, and community colleges. It is a model of national recognition because North Carolina school districts now collectively utilize six times the bandwidth while expending essentially the same costs they did during the preceding five years.


During her term, Governor Perdue implemented several innovative education technology initiatives to improve the quality of education in the state. She led a statewide reading program purposed to ensure that students were reading at grade level by the time they reached the third grade. This program utilized technology tools to personalize learning to better meet the needs of individual students. Additionally, she invested $22 million in a School Connectivity initiative, intended to provide schools with the necessary technology to improve connectivity and access to information. Her leadership in implementing these initiatives on a statewide scale will have a lasting impact on education in the state.


Operation Xcel is an academic enrichment program for students in grades K-8 that extends career-readiness objectives similar to Perdue's to all students in the state, regardless of their zip code.  Check out our future-focused afterschool and summer programs designed to ensure that students are career-ready. (Click on the preceding sentence to learn more)