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Guest Post: Why We Believe the Future is Bright at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

In just a few days, more than 140,000 students from kindergarten to high school will walk through the doors of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg school, ready to start a new year and new classes that will help them realize their dreams and goals. More than 19,000 teachers and staff have worked hard to prepare for the first day of school and the year ahead.

Nothing is more important than ensuring our children receive the best possible education in a safe and welcoming environment. They hold the future of our community and nation in their hands – and it is our responsibility to give them the knowledge, skills and guidance to ensure the strength of our future workforce and the wisdom of our future leaders.  We believe Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) is on track to deliver on that responsibility.

Last year the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council (CELC) and CMS announced a partnership to address critical needs for CMS that the business community is uniquely equipped to address.  For the past year, eight leading Charlotte organizations – Ally, Atrium Health, Bank of America, CPCC, Duke Energy, Novant Health, Rodgers Builders, and Wells Fargo – have had the privilege of providing human resources to CMS in the form of leaders loaned to work hand in hand with CMS administrators. The CMS leaders are leading the way, determining areas where corporate expertise would be helpful.  As a result, the business community has had a front row seat to witness the leadership, dedication, experience and talent that characterize CMS – and we have been humbled by the energy and passion the staff brings to their roles every day.

There is no question that our school system, like those across the nation, has faced daunting challenges over the past few years.  Covid created an unprecedented environment. Teachers and administrators performed heroic feats to navigate virtual learning but schools across the U.S. lost ground in testing scores, with CMS no exception.

Our new Superintendent, Dr. Crystal Hill, is not shying away from the challenges and she brings with her a proven track record.  Prior to joining CMS, she served as chief academic officer for Cabarrus County Schools, where she led the district in achieving the highest level of academic performance in history.  She also brings a phenomenal combination of a hard-driving business approach and a deep level of passion and empathy for students and families.

When Dr. Hill speaks about a clear vision, excellence without exception, data-driven goals, providing excellent customer service and a focus on accountability, we are reminded of the most successful business strategies in which we’ve participated. When she talks about creating the magic of school for every student, we hear an extraordinary commitment to a higher purpose.

Just as is the case in business, CMS is presented with many competing priorities every day. Success depends on a steadfast focus on the goal and what really matters, creating a culture of collaboration, and holding people accountable.  Dr. Hill demonstrates all of these leadership qualities.

We are optimistic about the future of CMS – and therefore the future of our community. The CMS team is dedicated and experienced.  Dr. Hill and her cabinet bring strong leadership and a clear vision. And, we have a community that understands the importance of a vibrant public education system and is highly engaged.  We are looking forward to a great 2023-2024 school year and can’t wait to see the progress Dr. Hill and her team will achieve.

Francisco Alvarado
President and CEO, Marand Builders
Education Council Co-Lead, CELC

Mike Lamach
Retired Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Trane Technologies, plc
Chair, CELC

Mary Mack
Senior Executive Vice President, Wells Fargo
Education Council Co-Lead, CELC

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