Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison summed up his vision for the district in one phrase at the 2012 Summer Leadership Conference, July 16.
“We have 141,000 reasons to be great.”
Dr. Morrison’s remarks were directed toward the administrators, managers, principals and teachers who are participating in the two-day conference. The annual event provides opportunities for attendees to learn new skills and strategies aimed at moving the district forward.
Dr. Morrison began the session with a Q&A, where he answered questions ranging from work and home to sports and food. He introduced Ann Clark, CMS deputy superintendent, who recapped the district's exciting accomplishments in 2011-2012, including winning the Broad Prize for Urban Education, Project L.I.F.T., receiving a Wallace Foundation grant and the integration of 21st century technology in the classroom. Once again taking the stage, Dr. Morrison tapped on the themes and goals of his entry plan, including student achievement, governance, organizational effectiveness, organizational culture and public trust in the district.
Rachel Williams, assistant principal at Nathaniel Alexander Elementary, felt a new and fresh energy in Dr. Morrison’s words.
“He is very passionate about every child,” Williams said. “He has set a tone of excellence as the expectation for the coming school year.”
Several Board members were in attendance. CMS Board of Education Vice-Chairperson Mary McCray sat in the front row to hear Dr. Morrison’s remarks.
“He laid out what he wanted to see from staff and also what staff can expect from him—it was two-way,” McCray said. “From speaking with some principals with whom I’ve worked and know, they seem positive about it. They are looking through new lenses. It’s a kind of metamorphosis for some.”
The 2012 Summer Leadership Conference includes breakout sessions on student achievement, Common Core, organizational change, accountability and effectiveness, digital learning, leadership, and creating safe school environments. Participants will hear from keynote speakers Ken Williams and Dr. Todd Whitaker. Williams is a former classroom teacher and school principal turned education coach and author. He specializes in applying his leadership experience toward methodologies and results-oriented activities that help teams take on challenges and produce breakthrough results. Whitaker, a professor of educational leadership at Indiana State University and best-selling author, is recognized as a leading presenter in education. He is an authority on staff motivation, teacher leadership and principal effectiveness.