CMS superintendent talks about his reorganization plan, safety in the schools

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox is telling WBTV the reasons behind his reorganization. He has been with the district since July 2017 and says he is ready to turn things upside down and inside out to better the outcomes for all students.

"We just can't do the same thing over and over again," CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox said.

Wilcox's changes include having six community superintendents instead of nine. He also wants to have three associate superintendents to handle curriculum at the high school, middle school and elementary school level.  He believes these appointments will help make the district run more effectively and efficiently.

The associate superintendents will also help shape the curriculum for students. Wilcox says he wants the same curriculum for all schools.

"We're not going to leave it up to an individual principal or an individual teacher to make. We are going to deliver instruction with some degree of equity across the county," Wilcox said.

Charlotte's top educator says during the spring and summer months staff will be reviewing curriculums to decide which ones to use in the schools. Wilcox wants to make sure students can relate to the teachings.

"Make sure that kids can see themselves in the curriculum. So we are going to work really hard to make sure that our Latino kids, African American, and White kids can see themselves in terms of their history," Wilcox said.

The superintendent's shuffle also appoints two executive directors. One director will be responsible for social, emotional, mental and anti-bullying efforts. The other director will be responsible for cultural awareness and inclusive teaching.

"We'll have someone everyday when they wake up their job is to make sure we are equitable in the district. Not just resources, but of the experience  and the expectations and outcomes for kids," Wilcox said.

The superintendent claims his reorganization will be cost neutral. He says he is using existing resources already in the district. Wilcox says some top administrators will also be reassigned to schools. The top educator says the shuffle has caused some people to leave the district.

"A lot of folks have said to me, 'I am facing retirement and I am fully retirement eligible. I think rather than go through another set of changes, I am going to step away.'"

The superintendent admits it will take time for his changes to make a difference. He says it could take a few years. He believes CMS  changing superintendents every few years has slowed down progress in the district.  Wilcox says he wants to stay with CMS so he can see his reorganization plan work, but says that will be up to the school board.

"I'm hopeful that they'll let me be here for the next 5-10 years," Wilcox said.

Safety is also on the mind of the superintendent. He says he is planning to ask county commissioners for about $9.5 million to increase security at schools. He says everything is on the table including installing fences around some campuses.

"We are going to look at doors. We are going to look at windows. We are looking at lock stops within buildings. We are looking at security vestibules. We are looking at additional personnel. There is a whole package of things that we will be presenting shortly during the budget process. We are also looking at camera systems that are a bit reactionary to audio systems, so we can hear what's going on," Wilcox said.

The superintendent says he will also request more money to add 40-50 extra social workers and guidance counselors to schools.

While the superintendent thinks about safety he says another reorganization could come soon. He plans to make another announcement in the next 30-40 days.

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