John Tedesco

North Carolina
Superintendent of Public Instruction
John Tedesco (R)
104 Rock Fish Lane
Garner, NC 27529

A public servant, widely recognized for his accomplishments in education reform, John Tedesco currently serves as a member of the Wake County School Board

A public servant, widely recognized for his accomplishments in public sector leadership, John Tedesco currently serves as a member of the Wake County School Board---the largest school system in North Carolina, and the 16th largest in America. He has served various leadership posts including Vice Chairman of the Board, Chairman of the Student Assignment Committee, and currently serves as Chair the Economically Disadvantaged Task Force. 

As a member of the Wake County Board of Education, Tedesco operates a system with 165 schools, $1.5 billion budget, 147,000 children, and 18,000 employees. In 2011, Tedesco and his colleagues successfully led the effort to reduce the Wake County Public School System budget by nearly $88 million, while still protecting the students and all of the systems teachers. In addition, they launched one of the largest parental choice student assignment plans in the nation. 

Tedesco, a Garner family man, has spent over a decade helping tens of thousands of children and citizens here and across America. As the oldest of 6, he credits faith and education as the key to his rise from extreme poverty and the foundation of his relentless drive. He is a true champion for children, families and our community. His unique background and expertise on educational issues has earned him national recognition. Tedesco's views and aggressive challenge to the status quo have been highlighted on the Fox News, The New York Times, The LA Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, The Economist, and CNN.

His commitment is to ALL children, families, and tax-payers is unprecedented. He is routinely quoted stating, "Public education takes care of other people's children with other people's money and needs to stand accountable for both." The Raleigh News & Observer has called him a "transformative force", one who "has done his homework", and a "tireless for voice for neighborhood schools and underpriviledged children."

Professionally, Tedesco serves as the President and CEO of The North Carolina Center for Education Reform ( a catalyst for positive transformation of schools across our state. He and his wife Jennifer Janise Tedesco are also small business owners with multiple ventures dealing with leadership and development consulting and retail distribution of organic baby products.

Along with his entrepreneurial efforts, Mr. Tedesco has had a distinguished career in the service of others. He most recently served as the Chief Development Officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters, where he is credited with developing the North Carolina Mentoring Children of Prisoners Initiative. Prior to that post he served as Director of Development for Harbor House in Central NJ serving over 8,000 abused, abandoned, and or homeless children annually. Additionally, he served as Borough Administrator (City Manager) of Highlands, NJ, and Director of Annual Giving for Pace University in NYC raising millions of dollars for student scholarships.

Favorite Quotations
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
      - Nelson Mandela 
“There are no easy answers' but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”
      - Ronald Reagan
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
      - Jackie Robinson

Education Info
College: Thiel '98
Public Administration, Political Science
High School: Freedom Area Senior High School '93

Work Info
Employer: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Position: Cheif Development Officer
Time Period: 2007 to 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC
Employer: Ocean's Harbor House
Position: Director of Development
Time Period: 2003 to 2007
Location: Toms River, NJ
Employer: Town of Highlands, NJ
Position: City Manager
Time Period: 2000 to 2002
Location: Highlands, NJ

Basic Info
Born January 20, 1975
Location Garner, North Carolina 27529
Hometown Born in New York City - Grew up in Pittsburgh
Country United States

Currently Running For
Office: State Superintendent
State: North Carolina
District: Statewide
Party: Republican

Office: Member, Wake County School Board
State: North Carolina
District: 2

Party: Republican
Political Views Conservative

Relationship Status   Married to
Jennifer Janise Tedesco

Religious Views Christian

Contact Info
Cell 919-701-9253

A Clear Vision:

“As a boy in Sunday school I learned that ‘without a vision people will perish.'  I believe our vision for education needs to be one in which all of our children can benefit in order to move North Carolina forward; one in which families and tax-payers can believe.  It needs to be more than just words at a rally to fire up the crowd.  A vision brought solely from a lifetime of expertise will fall flat if it does not come with tenacious leadership to push through in the face of challenge and opposition.  To make our schools better and lead the nation in educational outcomes will require heavy lifting. Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work because our children deserve  better.” - John 

 A Clear Vision built on a 4x4 foundation  (4 focus areas each with 4 key initiatives)
We can challenge our most gifted, raise our most vulnerable and build a promising future for North Carolina.

Build a Better Educated Workforce (ensure kids are either college or career ready)
1. Expand vocational opportunities and high school apprenticeship programs across NC.
2. Reduce rate of remediation in our community colleges & universities by strengthening high school standards.
3. Expand workforce partnerships and early college initiatives across the state.
4. Partner with key stakeholders in the private sector to ensure that our curriculum is building the human capital needed for our knowledge intense industries.
Protect, Develop and Empower Teachers
1. Trim wasteful spending on burdensome bureaucracy, out-dated processes and ineffective programs, and realign those dollars to protect our teachers and classrooms.
2. Move away from a teach to the test culture. Teach children needed critical thinking skills and accountability so that they may be productive members of our society positioned to reach their full potential.
3. Encourage merit based pay initiatives for teachers who produce measurable results or rise to meet added challenges; additionally, expand professional development and build strong career opportunities for those in the profession.
4. End “last in, first out” policies (seniority based layoffs) and shift to retain our most effective teachers for our students.
Reinforce the basics and innovate forward
1. Build early literacy metrics; makes 3rd grade reading a key benchmark, hold schools and students accountable to higher standards.
2. End social promotions and establish high expectations for all children at all schools.   Children need to be prepared and ready before they enter the next grade level.
3. Ensure our classrooms are taught with a  21st century pedagogy, functioning with 21st century tools, and providing a rigorous education to all students.
4. Institute more competitive-based funding opportunities in tandem to the state’s formula-based funding for local school boards that are built on measurable results.
Empower Parents and Strengthen Communities
1. Reduce state bureaucracy and red-tape to transfer more controls to local education authorities.
2. Strengthen school choice initiatives and even provide extended opportunities for public charter schools, traditional public schools, and homeschools to collaborate together.
3. Work with local school districts and community leaders to close the valve on the school-to-prison pipeline.
4. Build on our shared American cultural values, ensure our Constitution is being taught in a rich format, strengthen American History curriculum, and call for more civic engagement and service based learning for students.


20120517 John Tedesco for NC Superintendent of Public Instruction - Republican