Nancy Hicks Brightwell currently serves as the East Learning Community Superintendent for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The East Learning Community is comprised of 23 schools, including 2 magnet feeder programs. She also leads the Title I office for the school district. She recently led the district's Beacon Initiative, which is dedicated to providing differentiated support for sustainable change in fourteen turnaround schools.
During the 2014-2015 school year, she led nine Northeast Learning Community schools in the Vance attendance area. She has been a principal at the elementary, middle and high school levels for twenty year. She brings that instructional leadership experience, as well as a student-focused perspective, to her district roles.
As a lifelong educator, she is driven by a strong moral purpose to serve and support schools in creating sustained opportunities for all students to experience school success.
Mrs. Brightwell began her leadership career with CMS in 1994 when she became the principal of J. H. Gunn, an underperforming rural Charlotte elementary school. In 1996 she became the first principal at Nathaniel Alexander Elementary, one of four schools on the Governors' Village campus. She worked to redesign common school structures such as creating school families, multi-age looping and distance learning. Nathaniel Alexander was recognized as a School of Distinction by the state in 1997 and 1998, and a School of Excellence in 1999.
In 2000, she became the principal at Beverly Woods Elementary, where she developed the district's first elementary Leadership and Global Economics partial-magnet program. Beverly Woods was recognized as a School of Excellence in 2002, 2003 and 2004. She moved to Carmel Middle as principal in 2005, leading the school to several state and national awards. In 2008, she asked to become one of the first Strategically Staffed principals in CMS. As one of seven chosen principals, she was assigned to a chronically low-performing school and charged to turn around academic achievement within three years. Under her leadership, Ranson Middle School saw double-digit increases in proficiency and growth during each of her three years there.
In 2011, she became principal at Mallard Creek High, which increased its graduation rate from 92.1 percent to 95.1 percent in two years. She also worked to establish a freshman academy, student success contracts, differentiated professional development programs, as well as teacher-leadership groups.
Prior to her leadership experiences CMS, she worked in Pinellas County Florida, where she taught middle school language arts and Kindergarten-second grade. Upon moving to Charlotte, she was a kindergarten, second, and third grade teacher.
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