Thousands of CMS teachers, employees attend back-to-school rally

More than 14,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers, administrators and support personnel got the school year off to a rousing start Thursday morning with the second annual Employee Back-to-School Rally at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The event, underwritten by a number of Charlotte-area businesses, featured short speeches by Superintendent Heath Morrison and board Chairwoman Mary McCray, along with music and appearances by most of the area’s sports mascots.

And McClintock Middle School Principal Paul Williams, billing himself as Conductor of Awesomeness, won a dance-off against mascots Chubby Checker of the Charlotte Checkers and Homer the Dragon of the Charlotte Knights.

It was a final chance for the system’s employees to gather before the job of educating children gets underway. Employees filled most of the nearly 14,000 seats in the lower area of the arena, and hundreds more got seats on the arena floor.

Most CMS schools hold open houses Friday, although many had those programs Thursday afternoon.

The first day of classes for CMS and most other public schools in North Carolina will be Monday. Steve Lyttle