CMS moves forward with superintendent search. Here’s how to offer your input.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education Elyse Dashew, center, and board members leave for a closed session after 7-2 voted to terminate Superintendent Earnest Winston’s contract on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. (Jeff Siner/

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education wants to hear from students, parents, staff and people across Mecklenburg County about its next superintendent.

Board members are working with Charlotte-based consulting firm Civility Localized to conduct community engagement through Dec. 13. While the CMS board is leading the engagement with Civility Localized, the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council is covering the cost of the work, CELC chair Mike Lamach said.

“The CELC’s purpose is to advocate for impactful solutions that improve Charlotte’s economic vitality, equitable opportunity and quality of life for all, and our council members share a deep desire to give back and help strengthen our community,” Lamach said. “We applaud the CMS board’s decision to have the community be a critical part of the superintendent search process.”

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School board chair Elyse Dashew said CMS wants to hear from the public about qualities and skills the next superintendent should have and “your hopes, dreams, and expectations.”

Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh will step down in June, Dashew said, and the board’s community engagement efforts will include interviews, focus groups, surveys and other methods. Specific information on how to participate and the survey website is posted on the CMS website.

The first community engagement virtual listening session is scheduled for 6 p.m., Oct. 18. An in-person listening session is scheduled for 6 p.m., Oct. 27 at Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library on Beatties Ford Road. Other sessions haven’t been announced.

The input gathered will be reported to the board at its meeting Dec. 13. The search will begin in January after the school board elected in November takes office, with an expectation of hiring the superintendent by summer.

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“The goal is to gain as many perspectives as possible,” said Christine Edwards, the founder of Civility Localized and a CMS graduate. “We hope to illuminate the needs and priorities of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.”

The school board fired former Superintendent Earnest Winston in April. Board members pointed a myriad of reasons why they opted to fire Winston, who had been on the job for two-and-a-half years. Concerns included Winston’s slow implementation of district safety measures, questions of judgment related to Title IX issues and the slow or delayed implementation of key decisions, according to records released from Winston’s personnel file.

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Board members signed Hattabaugh to a $265,000 contract that runs through June 30, 2023.