May 19, 2023 - News

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools names new superintendent

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has hired its interim superintendent Crystal Hill to serve in the role permanently.

Why it matters: The superintendent is the top boss of Mecklenburg County’s school system — one of the largest school districts in the U.S. with about 141,000 students. She’ll be expected to close CMS’ achievement gap and improve communication with families, among other tasks.

  • Hill will be the first Black female to hold the position in CMS history.
  • She is also the fifth leader in the district’s rotating door of superintendents since 2011. Even the previous interim superintendent, Hugh Hattabaugh, exited his contract early. Before that, ex-superintendent Earnest Winston was terminated within three years on the job.

Details: The district conducted a national and “extensive” search for the next leader, which included a thorough background check to dig up any potential dirt on the chosen candidate, as WFAE reported.

  • Friday, the board of education approved the employment contract 6-3. Board members Jennifer De La Jara, Lisa Cline and Summer Nunn — who led the search committee — were opposed.

Zoom in: Hill joined the school district last May as chief of staff. Within months, she was appointed as interim superintendent, starting in January.

What they’re saying: “Dr. Hill is an experienced school administrator and servant leader with a proven track record of success related to student academic achievement,” school board chair Elyse Dashew said in a news release.

  • Dashew credited Hill with boosting academics at Cabarrus County to the highest achievement levels in the district’s history as its chief academic officer. Nearly 95% of Cabarrus’ schools were meeting or exceeding growth targets, according to the release.

Yes, but: In her one year at CMS, Hill has already come under fire for her leadership of the Title IX office. Several parents tell our news partners at WBTV their children were sexually assaulted, and they’ve accused the district of not acting swiftly.

Flashback: Hill started her education career as a first-grade teacher in Guilford County Schools and moved up the ladder as an assistant principal and principal.

  • Her resume includes titles such as executive director of elementary education and federal programs in Mooresville Graded School District, curriculum coordinator in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and personnel director in Cabarrus County.
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