Education

Leadership remains in limbo at McClintock Middle School

McClintock Middle School Principal Paul Williams performs in costume as the Mighty Scot school mascot at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools 2014 back-to-school rally.
McClintock Middle School Principal Paul Williams performs in costume as the Mighty Scot school mascot at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools 2014 back-to-school rally. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

More than five weeks after suspending Paul Williams as principal of McClintock Middle School, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has named an interim principal but not concluded its investigation.

Retired principal Ann Nivens is leading the southeast Charlotte school, which has been cited as one of the district’s most promising models of turning around a high-poverty school and making it attractive to middle-class families.

Williams, whose high-energy style and work with community partners has made him one of the best-known principals in CMS, remains suspended with pay. He said Friday he can’t comment on his situation.

On April 15, CMS notified McClintock families that Williams had been “relieved of his duties” because of “a situation at McClintock.” The suspension began April 6.

“Details of the situation are a personnel matter and cannot be shared. However, it is important for you to know that no children are involved in the matter,” said the notice from Tara Sullivan, the administrator who oversees McClintock.

North Carolina’s public records law makes most information in employees’ personnel files confidential, but requires school districts and other public bodies to disclose disciplinary actions such as suspensions.

Williams said at the time that the investigation stems from a complaint by someone on his staff that he “behaved inappropriately” and was “playing favorites.” He said he hoped to be cleared and return quickly to McClintock.

McClintock, which has long struggled with low test scores and high poverty rates, is a neighborhood school that includes many middle-class and affluent families in its zone. Construction of a new building and addition of a robotics and engineering magnet program have helped efforts to persuade some of those families to consider attending.

McClintock’s partnership with Christ Lutheran Church, which brings throngs of parents, students and volunteers to school for weekly family nights, has been recognized as a model for community support of public education.

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

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