Ten years ago, Charlotte real estate broker Angela Ambroise sold a house in the transitioning Villa Heights neighborhood to a young man who would become her husband.
She moved into his house, and into one of Charlotte’s most diverse inner-city neighborhoods. There over time, she’s witnessed many new families with young children moving into Villa Heights and nearby neighborhoods, but choosing to send their children to charter or private schools.
“They were integrating the neighborhoods, but not taking the leap into CMS,” said Ambroise (pronounced Ahm-braz), 39, who grew up in Winston-Salem. “Inner-city schools had a stigma and we need to figure out a plan to change that image.”
That largely drew Ambroise into the crowded school board race for three at-large seats.
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As a mother of two – her 5-year-old daughter is a CMS kindergartner – she believes inner-city schools need a voice and the district needs to rethink its approach to urban schools. That includes linking education policy to city housing plans as a way to diversify neighborhoods and schools. The city, she said, lacks affordable housing.
She said her own neighborhood is divided among school zones, with many children bused to Walter G. Byers School five miles away.
“We need to keep neighborhoods intact so there’s a natural diversity and parents have a chance to be involved in their children’s schools,” Ambroise said. “Many of our parents don’t have transportation.”
She said the school board needs to find the next superintendent with roots in Charlotte, “so we have less turnover.” She’d support current Superintendent Ann Clark staying in the job longer. She said she’s watching a county task force as it studies why poor children in Charlotte have trouble lifting themselves out of poverty. She says CMS should focus on that problem.
“The problem is definitely tied to schools,” she said. “Are we good enough to be able to impact these children with a quality education and give them a chance at a better future?”
▪ Political experience: First run for elected office.
▪ CMS connections: Daughter a CMS kindergartner.
▪ Occupation: real estate broker.
▪ Quote: “I would first address the image problem of our innercity schools and institute a rebranding campaign along with adopting highly competitive partial magnets for them all.”
▪ Age: 39
▪ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 704-713-1975.