CHARLOTTE – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools held a virtual listening session Oct. 18 to get community input on the next superintendent as interim leader, Hugh Hattabaugh, leaves office in June 2023. 

Civility Localized is handling engagement through November 2022 and will present its findings to the school board on Dec. 13. 

“This board genuinely wants and needs to hear from the community as we get ready for the next superintendent search,” chair Elyse Dashew said, adding a desire to hear from a wide range of community members. 

The session started off with an icebreaker. People described the ideal superintendent in one word. Communicator, servant leader, experienced, honest and competent were some of the words mentioned.

The session focused on five questions: 

• What’s working? List the strengths of CMS that the next superintendent will need to understand and continue to support. 

• What are the most critical needs and challenges of CMS that the next superintendent will need to understand and address?

• What personal qualities, professional experience and other skills should the school board look for in the next superintendent? Is visibility an important attribute in this role? 

• What does CMS need to do to recruit and retain a high-achieving superintendent to lead the district for five years? 10 years?

• In what ways could CMS and community partners collaborate more effectively to create more equitable and long-lasting success and quality of life for students?

As far as the greatest challenges, participants mentioned low-performing schools, the achievement gap among races, the long-term effects of COVID-19, mental health support, broadband inequities, access to equitable learning opportunities and meeting the needs of all families. Other challenges involved hiring strong teachers and central office staff as well as diverse employees. 

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