Panther Tracks

‘Coach’ Ann Clark tells CMS she’ll keep pounding for employees

Superintendent Ann Clark presents former Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board member Sarah Stevenson a CMS “game ball” during her annual State of Our Schools speech in January.
Superintendent Ann Clark presents former Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board member Sarah Stevenson a CMS “game ball” during her annual State of Our Schools speech in January. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Superintendent Ann Clark has been working Panthers themes into her speeches for months, but Friday’s weekly message to more than 18,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees took the pep talk to a new level.

She noted that she has been calling the group “Team CMS” all year and considers herself the head coach of a crew that should inspire as much community pride as the local football team.

“We have schools and departments that function much like the different teams for the Panthers such as receivers, offensive line, linebackers, etc.,” Clark’s email message says. “Together our schools and departments combine to deliver success for every student through the Strategic Plan 2018 which is our game plan.”

She lists 11 life lessons modeled by Panthers players, including patience, persistence, teamwork and “the importance of having fun while you work.”

The message, illustrated with a line of footballs and a trophy, comes two days before Super Bowl 50 – and four days before Clark faces a controversial school board vote on her own future. Clark is scheduled to retire this summer after 33 years with CMS. Some board members want her to stay an extra year, while others want to conduct a national search in the next six months.

Clark’s memo notes her commitment to “Keep Pounding on behalf of each of you and the work you do to support CMS.”

“Let’s learn from the important lessons of this amazing Carolina Panther season and look forward to celebrating the successes of our team effort at the end of this school year,” Clark concludes. “Go Panthers!”

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

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