Nicole Priestly, Ph.D. Central Elementary Zone
Nicole Priestly brings extensive experience and an open mind to her role as executive director of the Central Elementary Zone at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
“I have always focused on developing strong literacy and communications skills for students,” she said. “Reading well is the key to a strong start in school.”
Priestly joined CMS in 2011 after working in education at all levels. She has taught education at the college level while working in public schools as a teacher, reading specialist, principal and administrator.
Priestly began her career as a teacher assistant in a Head Start program in Greenville, SC. She taught fifth grade in Columbia, SC, for two years, then moved to Alachua County (Gainesville), Florida where she taught fourth and fifth grades. She worked as a reading specialist in Fulton County, Georgia, and Montgomery County, Maryland, before becoming an assistant principal and then principal at elementary schools in Maryland. She has also taught education courses in reading and children’s literature at the college level in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
A native of Greenville, SC, Priestly holds a bachelor of arts in international relations with a minor in English and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of South Carolina. She holds a specialist degree in reading from the University of Florida and a doctorate in education from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Avery Mitchell Central Secondary Zone
Carol Owen (interim) East Zone
Mark Bosco Northeast Zone
Mark Bosco brings a wide range of experience in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to his role as executive director of the Northeast Zone. He has been a teacher, assistant principal and principal since joining the district in 1994.
“My educational philosophy was shaped in the classroom and I believe that to teach students, you first have to reach them and engage them in learning,” Bosco says. “Meeting students where they are and helping them to learn is the most important work we do.”
Bosco, a native of Morris, N.J., began his career as a history teacher at Northwest School of the Arts, where he became chair of the social studies department. After four years at Northwest, he returned to his native New York to teach social studies at Cooperstown High School. He was also a principal intern there.
He rejoined CMS in 2002, returning to Northwest as assistant principal. He has also served as summer school principal at Wilson Middle and as principal at Quail Hollow Middle and Independence High, as well as interim principal at Northwest earlier this year.
He has served on a variety of school, district and regional committees and also helped design a freshman academy at Independence.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science (minor in history) from Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. He earned a master’s degree in social studies from the State University of New York at Albany and a certificate of advanced study in educational administration from the State University of New York at Cortland.
Kathy Elling Southwest Zone
Kathy Elling’s background includes extensive experience in education, conflict resolution and psychology – and she uses all three in her role as executive director of the Southwest Zone in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
“Education depends on the successful navigation of so many obstacles for every child,” Elling says. “For some children, kindergarten to grade 12 can be a seamless process, and for others, you have to move things out of the way. We want every child to learn, no matter what the obstacles are.”
Elling began her career as a district and school psychologist in New York state, working in Pulaski, Northport and Bayside before joining CMS as a student-services specialist in 1990. She also worked as a conflict-resolution trainer for a private firm in Charlotte while in CMS. In 1988, she became an assistant principal at David Cox Elementary and in 2002 was named principal there. She moved to Croft Community School as principal in 2008.
Elling holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in science and a certificate of advanced study in school psychology from the State University College at Oswego (New York). She earned her principal certification from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.