Former Supt. reflects on the good, bad on time in CMS

Published: Oct. 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 24, 2013 at 4:36 PM EST
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Former Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim Pughsley is now sharing with WBTV about his time while in office. 

Pughsley was with CMS for about nine years - three as superintendent.  He was CMS' first African American superintendent.

Pughsley was Charlotte's top educator during some challenging times. The county gave no new funding to the district for three straight years, a judge claimed academic genocide was happening in CMS, and there was a loud cry from taxpayers to split up the school district.  Some thought Pughsley wasn't the right leader for that time.

"They were wanting a politician," Pughsley said. "I was an educator and that's who I am."

The former educator resigned from office back in 2005.

"No regrets," Pughsley said. "I left here with a year remaining on my contract, but I left when I wanted to leave. It wasn't the heat or anything of that sort."

Pughsley revealed a racist remark a board member told him as he was about to retire.  He never shared the comment publicly until now.

"That board member would like me to consider leaving and I listened," Pughsley said. "And I asked why? And the board member indicated to me that with you here as a superintendent, there are more and more minorities attracted to the school system. That was very disappointing to me."

Pughsley also tells us what he's been up to since leaving CMS. He has been enjoying life as a consultant for several education organizations.

"I always look at every opportunity as a growth opportunity," Pughsley said. "And that's what I've had even after retirement. I don't want to sit around and not be aware of what's going on. I like to stay fresh so I put myself in situations where that can happen."

He also shares his thoughts about current CMS superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison.

"I think the right man is on the job," Pughsley said. "I believe he's for real. I believe he is sincere and I hope the community will support him."

The former superintendent mention his thoughts about his successor, Dr. Peter Gorman.

"Let me simply say, Integrity is everything," the former superintendent said.  "Respect and truthfulness follow that, and I'll let it go at that."

Pughsley is now 74.  He has retired twice from school systems. His dream is to work with the school system in South Africa.

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