What Guilford County residents will appreciate in their new school superintendent, Maurice “Mo” Green, was summed up by his former boss, Woody Tilley, who as a federal judge based in Greensboro hired the young lawyer as a clerk in 1991: “Mo works harder to learn what is right about something and works harder to be fair about something than anyone I've ever known …. I've always said Mo would be a great president of this country.”
The presidency will have to wait awhile. The Guilford County school board hired Mr. Green last week to run its 71,000-student school system. If he performs as well as he has for the past two years in his first job as a school administrator, in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, residents will be happy with the choice.
As deputy to CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman, Mr. Green has proved he's up to the task of running a large, diverse school system. His performance allayed fears that someone who wasn't an educator and didn't rise through the ranks of a school system couldn't grasp the needs and meet the challenges facing public schools. He has been essential in helping Superintendent Gorman aggressively pursue changes to improve student performance, especially among kids who face obstacles to learning because of economic or other disadvantages.
Just as important, he has been essential in helping improve relations with parents and others, and in restoring trust in the school system. His placid demeanor belies a passion for the welfare and success of children. But that passion shines through in the many civic activities he's taken on, including vice president of Crisis Assistance Ministry's board and a former director of A Child's Place, Community School of the Arts, The Family Center and Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont.
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Guilford County school board chair Alan Duncan said of Mr. Green last week that “we will have a superintendent who demonstrates tremendous educational leadership and empowers others by instilling confidence in those around him. … His extraordinary intellectual abilities are well suited to the dynamic academic climate of this school system.”
Those are qualities we have appreciated in Mo Green ever since he came to CMS as general counsel in 2001. His intelligence, integrity and skill as a leader should serve him, and the children of Guilford County, well. He's a worthy choice to lead the state's third largest school system.