Newly elected CMS board members discuss Superintendent search

Published: Nov. 4, 2015 at 5:36 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 4, 2015 at 5:56 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Now that results are in for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district at-large board member race, the superintendent search can get started.

Many were waiting to see how the election would turn out to determine if current superintendent Ann Clark would have a chance remaining in her role after her contract expires next year.

School board candidate Jeremy Stephenson said he would support offering Ann Clark the permanent position. Since Stephenson didn't win, WBTV is asking the newly elected board members their thoughts on the superintendent search.

It appears the winners want community input before moving forward. Ericka Ellis-Stewart was re-elected and was the top vote getter. She was chairperson during the last superintendent search and says she knows what needs to happen.

"What I know for sure is," Ellis-Stewart said, "The Charlotte community values input and engagement, so no matter what we do - we have to make sure there is a strong amount of community input and engagement around the superintendent process."

Ellis-Stewart wants the board to select a process. She is in favor of a regional or nationwide search to find Charlotte's next top educator.

"Whoever sits in that seat," she said. "Really needs to be a unifying figure for our community, not something that's going to divide us."

New board member Elyse Dashew tells WBTV she is also for community input before deciding next steps. She expressed her thoughts about keeping Ann Clark.

"I think she is very talented," Dashew said. "And we are lucky to have her. I also think we need strong community engagement and strong community trust in the process. I think she is doing a great job and I would love to see her a part of the process."

Current board chairperson Mary McCray was also reelected in Tuesday night's election. She says she is in favor of honoring Clark's contract that ends July 2016. McCray favors a regional superintendent search.

"Regional does not put them too far out of touch with what is happening in North Carolina," McCray said. "Because we are going to need a superintendent who knows the landscape of North Carolina, someone who can hit the ground running."

McCray believes the advantage of having the next superintendent not be a total stranger to the area will not waste time when it comes to getting the job done.

"Have some foresight about what's going on in North Carolina," McCray said. "And not have to sit three months and four months and learn what's going on."

The three at-large school board members will be sworn in on December 8th and it is expected they will get right to work finding the next leader for CMS.

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