Parents, community members sound off on superintendent search

by Tori Hamby

HUNTERSVILLE – As Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools gets closer to choosing a new superintendent in March, area parents told schools officials they want to see a leader interested in preserving the public’s trust and building teamwork throughout the district.

During a community meeting Dec. 8 at North Mecklenburg High School, about 25 district parents and community members gathered to give input to Phil Hansen, chief operating officer of PROACT Search, the firm hired by the district to search for its new leader. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education District 1 Representative Rhonda Lennon, who represents part of the Mountain Island area, also was on-hand.

Parents were invited to share desired qualities in a new leader, what the district currently does right and wrong and what parents and community members could do to help ensure the new superintendent’s success. The meeting was one of six community forums held throughout the district.

Themes that came up throughout the meeting included a lack of trust between the community and past leaders, including former superintendent Peter Gorman who left the district last summer; the need for the district to improve its ability to inform the public about special programs and achievements; and the importance of considering diversity during the selection process.

“When you volunteer in schools, you see the composition of beautiful children of all races and colors,” said school volunteer and education activist Christy Beth Kluesner.

“These students look up to the people we place in power,” she said. “Why can’t that person be someone of a different race, or why can’t that person be a female?”

Another parent mentioned that Mountain Island Elementary has a plethora of volunteers, while surrounding schools have few. Although the district already has a program in place to help spread volunteers throughout the district, it has been poorly publicized and few volunteers know about it. Lennon said that recent budget cuts have dipped into the district’s public relations budget, making it difficult to get the word out.

Lennon reminded participants that no matter who the board selects to fill the post, the next superintendent would not necessarily be a miracle worker who can instantly solve the district’s problems.

“When that person gets here, we need to give him or her a little breathing room,” said Lennon.

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Reply