CMS picks familiar name to serve as interim superintendent

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 4:18 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Charlotte Observer) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education unanimously voted Tuesday to name Hugh Hattabaugh the interim superintendent of the district.

Board members signed Hattabaugh to a $265,000 contract starting Monday and running through June 30, 2023. He served as interim superintendent starting in 2011, following Peter Gorman and preceding Heath E. Morrison.

Hattabaugh will replace Earnest Winston, whom the board voted 7-2 to fire during Tuesday’s meeting.

“It is truly a privilege to return to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to work with the nine dedicated Board of Education members, the knowledgeable executive team members, principals, teachers and caring support staff to ensure all students reach their maximum potential to succeed in life,” Hattabaugh said in a letter to stakeholders. “We will continue to focus on increased academic achievement for all students, to do the hard work to close the achievement gaps.”

Hattabaugh said he is mindful that education, business and the culture of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County “are intertwined.”

“We, as a school district, require the continued support of the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County corporate leaders, mayors, commissioners, supportive parents/guardians, and concerned citizens to provide our students with a world-class education,” he said.

Hattabaugh began his CMS career in July 2007 as area superintendent of the North Learning Community before serving as chief operating officer from 2008-2011.

Most recently he served as the chief academic officer of Lake County, Florida, schools before retiring in 2013.

“Hugh is the right person to lead CMS at this time as we conduct a thorough, nationwide search for a new superintendent,” CMS board chair Elyse Dashew said. “He brings extensive experience in leadership and education and firsthand knowledge of CMS to this position.”

Hattabaugh holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in health education from Ball State University. In 1976, he completed his master’s degree in secondary education at Indiana University. He has won multiple awards for excellence in educational leadership and is an assessor of leadership development and assessment for the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

In a 2005 graduation speech in his final year as principal of William R. Boone High School in Orlando, Florida, Hattabaugh quoted “the most successful coach in the history of athletics: Coach Anson Dorrance, soccer coach for the North Carolina Tar Heels.”

“When asked the ingredients of his success, Dorrance stated, ‘I want to play on the edge, to attack rather than defend, to play to win rather than avoid losing.’ Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools cannot take the easy road. We must stay focused on our charge to ensure all students are ready for a successful and productive future,” Hattabaugh said.

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