Education

Meet the newest addition to the CMS board: She’s 17 and ready to speak

Saniye Wilson (center), a Providence High School senior, was chosen by student leaders from around CMS to be the school board’s first student adviser.
Saniye Wilson (center), a Providence High School senior, was chosen by student leaders from around CMS to be the school board’s first student adviser.

On Tuesday, Providence High senior Saniye Wilson will take a seat at the dais with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board, the first student adviser to serve in that role.

Wilson, 17, was chosen by representatives from every CMS high school, who in turn were elected by their schools. She made her public debut on Wednesday, introducing board Chair Mary McCray at the CMS State of Our Schools event at Vance High.

“I promise to be as truthful as a 17-year-old can be, so truthful that I will probably embarrass myself, which is the most 17-year-old thing I could do,” Wilson told the group.

Superintendent Ann Clark said Wilson is an idealist, but also a realist: “On her essay about why she wanted to be the board’s student rep she said, ‘I happen to have a lot of bottled up energy ready for enduring long meetings.’ ”

Clark said Wilson is secretary of the Mecklenburg Teen Democrats, an officer in her school’s Model United Nations and assistant director of her school play.

Providence High counselor Katherine Neal said Wilson transferred in from Charlotte Catholic High her sophomore year and has made a mark at Providence, where “she’s an advocate for the underdog.”

“She’ll talk and she’ll listen and she’ll share,” Neal said.

The board voted in October to add the student position. The student member can’t vote or take part in closed-door sessions, including those about choosing the next superintendent. But Wilson will be expected to participate and bring a student’s view to such upcoming tasks as welcoming the new superintendent, reviewing student assignment policies related to neighborhood schools and crafting a 2017 budget and school bond proposal.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms

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