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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The director of the state Association of School Administrators is entering the race to be South Carolina's next superintendent.

Molly Spearman announced her candidacy Monday. She becomes the eighth Republican vying to replace GOP schools chief Mick Zais, who announced in December that he's not seeking re-election.

Two Democrats are also seeking the job.

Spearman says her experiences make her uniquely prepared for the job. For the last decade, she's led the group that advocates for K-12 administrators. Her previous roles include teacher, principal, legislator and a deputy superintendent at the state Department of Education.

Her 18 years as a music teacher include being named Chapin Elementary's 1986 teacher of the year.

Spearman represented Saluda County in the state House for four terms, the first two as a Democrat.

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