Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools names its next superintendent, but we haven’t met him yet

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced Tuesday that it has found a new superintendent — Dr. Clayton Wilcox.

Wilcox is currently the superintendent of Washington County Public Schools in Maryland, about 70 miles northwest of D.C. He’s also led the Pinellas County, Florida district.

Wilcox will be the first person of Latin American descent to lead CMS. Wilcox has Mexican-American ancestry, which will be a crucial perspective in a district with a sizable and growing Latino population.

Photo courtesy of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Photo courtesy of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

He’ll make a salary of $280,000.

That’s per year in a four-year contract, CMS general counsel George Battle III said. The contract hasn’t been signed yet, and likely won’t be finalized until January. Wilcox is scheduled to take the helm July 1.

He’ll take over from Ann Clark, who’s guided the school district since 2014.

But the leadership has been in limbo that whole time. Here’s the short version: Back in late 2014, then-Superintendent Heath Morrison suddenly resigned. It later came out that he was forced out after allegations that he bullied staff members. The school board reluctantly named Ann Clark, who had been deputy superintendent, to the top job, but made it clear that it was only until they’d named a replacement.

Now they have.

Ann Clark is at the far left

Ann Clark is at the far left

CMS made the announcement hastily, and the community has yet to meet Wilcox.

Wilcox was informing his school board in Maryland, vice chairwoman Elyse Dashew said. He will come greet Charlotte at some point, Dashew said, but gave no details on when.

Wilcox did release a letter to the community. “I am drawn to Charlotte-Mecklenburg for a number of reasons, first because your core beliefs are my core beliefs – that you and your school board embrace a compelling vision that all students must receivethe best education available anywhere,” he wrote.

This superintendent search broke with tradition in that the finalists were not publicly interviewed. The CMS board interviewed six semifinalists and two finalists.

Dashew and board chairwoman Mary McCray took only a few questions before hustling off.

Dashew did say that Wilcox was on board with the current student assignment plan being worked on.

[Agenda story: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools plan to diversify magnet schools, explained]

From left, CMS general counsel George Battle III, board vice chairwoman Elyse Dashew, and board chairwoman Mary McCray

From left, CMS general counsel George Battle III, board vice chairwoman Elyse Dashew, and board chairwoman Mary McCray

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Andrew Dunn
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