A Personal Note from Ellen …

Dear Fellow-South Carolinian –

Why am I running to be your Superintendent of Education? Because I know first-hand that a great education is the front door of the American Dream…and I believe that we have a responsibility to throw open this door of opportunity for every child in South Carolina.

I was born right here in South Carolina and there is no place I’d rather call home. Growing up, my family was far from wealthy. I’ll always be grateful for the sacrifices my parents made to ensure I had the educational and spiritual foundation I needed to succeed in life.

I was blessed with opportunities to attend a variety of schools, including homeschooling for several years. Learning from home provided me the incredible opportunity to work in the afternoons with Dad in his small residential construction business. This experience ingrained in me a small business work ethic and the power of simply telling the truth.

I also witnessed the power of a great teacher on a student’s life. I graduated from my local public school and was shaped there by the leadership of an incredible principal and some terrific, top-notch teachers. I particularly remember my AP U.S. History and Economics teacher, Dr. McMann. His enthusiasm for his subjects and his passion for teaching helped set the trajectory for my life and career.

After graduating from Bob Jones University in Greenville, I went to work for U.S. Senator Jim DeMint. During the next 12 years, I learned by example the value of standing strong for common-sense principles and conservative values: saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

In 2013, alongside Senator DeMint, we launched Palmetto Promise Institute, South Carolina’s premier free-market public policy research and solutions organization. Over the last 9 years, I have worked every day to improve the lives of South Carolinians by fighting for smaller government, less regulation, and conservative policies that enhance our freedoms.

Through this challenging work and my volunteer service on the SC Education Oversight Committee, I have dug deep into K-12 education policy. I have seen “under the hood” of South Carolina’s education system and built strong relationships with both education innovators and policy leaders across the state.

As a volunteer in my church, I have gained important perspective working closely with children and adults with special needs and their families. As a lifelong learner, I have completed coursework for my Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

Leadership has never been more necessary in South Carolina education.

I am running for Superintendent of Education because the people of South Carolina – children, parents, teachers, and job creators – deserve a proven leader who will serve them with a listening ear, a strong backbone, and a laser focus on excellence.

As with any team, different positions require different capabilities. If elected, my “3 P’s” formula for success as Superintendent will be simple, if not easy.

First, I will continue to listen carefully to PEOPLE—parents, teachers, job creators, and students themselves—to understand the perspectives of all the stakeholders in our education system. Second, I will work with others to translate those perspectives into effective POLICY ideas communicated with a strong vision to expand and support what is working and to change what isn’t.

Lastly, good policies don’t just happen in a vacuum. It requires a thorough understanding of the often complex and challenging policy-making PROCESS, whether in Columbia or Washington. Navigating that process demands transparent communication and trusted relationships, skills I have been privileged to hone over the last 20 years.

A great education sets the trajectory for a child’s future. Here in South Carolina, the voices of our students, parents, teachers, and job creators deserve to be heard: each one is essential in our shared journey to empower every child in our state to reach their full, God-given potential.

My invitation to you and voters in every corner of this state: let’s talk!

I value your feedback, because I know that working together is the only way we will achieve real and lasting impact for students. So I’ll hope to see you on the campaign trail and look forward to the opportunity to earn your vote.

Together for South Carolina’s Future,


Ellen Weaver | Republican Candidate for
South Carolina Superintendent of Education