CMS to name a new superintendent today, ending two years of uncertainty

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will name a new superintendent at 3:30 p.m. today, ending two years of uncertainty about the district’s long-term plan for leadership.

[Clayton Wilcox of Maryland selected. Read updated story here.]

The new superintendent will take the helm of the nation’s 18th largest school district, with more than 147,000 students, a work force that tops 18,000 and a $1.4 billion annual operating budget. He or she will take office as the district launches a new diversity-driven magnet lottery, gears up a review of neighborhood school boundaries and prepares for a 2017 school bond campaign.

The hire concludes a tumultuous stretch that began with Superintendent Heath Morrison’s forced resignation in November 2014. The board promoted Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark and said it would do a search in 2015, then went silent for months. Early this year, after acknowledging behind-the-scenes talks about specific candidates and deep divides over how to proceed, the board extended Clark’s contract to June 2017 and renewed its search planning.

The school board interviewed the superintendent finalists in private last Monday – ending the district's long tradition of parading finalists through a series of public meetings. Public interviews are increasingly an artifact of the past, said Allison Schafer of the North Carolina School Boards Association.

The public did have several chances to weigh in on what people want to see in the next leader. The nonprofit MeckEd held 14 public forums in September, and the search firm McPherson & Jacobson held 45 invitation-only small group interviews and three public meetings. The two groups released separate reports in October.

CMS plans to carry the announcement live on its Facebook page and Twitter account.

This is a developing story.

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