Education

CMS hires principal for future Renaissance West preK-8 school

The site for a new school was originally set aside for a charter school, but planners decided to work with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
The site for a new school was originally set aside for a charter school, but planners decided to work with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. ahelms@charlotteobserver.com

A school designed to bring new life to the site of the old Boulevard Homes housing project moved a step closer to reality Tuesday, when Superintendent Ann Clark named a principal for Renaissance West preK-8 school.

The school won’t open until August 2017, but new Principal Erin Barksdale will spend the coming school year doing a residency at Atlanta’s Drew Charter School. Drew is part of a partnership to revitalize Atlanta’s East Lake area, which is a model for the Renaissance West project.

The Renaissance West Community Initiative, a nonprofit group created by the Charlotte Housing Authority, will work with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to run the new school. The group had initially planned to open a charter school on the site. The larger plan calls for “cradle to career” support for residents.

The school, which has not been officially named, will be governed by a council representing CMS, the initiative, school staff and community residents. CMS expects to offer a Science, Engineering, Arts and Math theme and serve about 800 students.

Barksdale is currently principal of the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, a 6-12 all-girl school in Atlanta. She is originally from Charlotte and was an assistant principal at CMS’ Ranson Middle School from 2010 to 2013.

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

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