At the request of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, Hattabaugh agreed to oversee the district in June 2011 following the unexpected resignation of then-Superintendent Peter C. Gorman. Under Gorman, Hattabaugh had served as chief operating officer. He joined the district in 2007 as an area superintendent, overseeing schools in the northern end of Mecklenburg County.
“We are grateful for the leadership and selfless service that Hugh has given CMS,” said Eric C. Davis, who represents District 5 for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Davis was chair of the Board when Hattabaugh was named interim superintendent. “He has provided steady, calming, and forward-moving leadership over the past five years and especially during this past year. Because of Hugh, our system is more efficient and effective. We appreciate all he has done for our students, staff and community.”
A native of Salem, Indiana, Hattabaugh retains strong ties to the Hoosier State. After graduating from Salem High School in 1969, he earned a biology degree from Ball State University and a master’s degree in secondary education from Indiana University. He taught biology and coached sports for a year in Muncie, Indiana, before returning to Salem, where he taught biology and coached for five years. He also earned a commercial driver’s license so he could drive the team bus for away games – an accomplishment he still recalls with pride.
In 1977, he left education but not Salem. He joined Baird Homes Inc. as a manager. A decade later, he returned to education, teaching in Orlando, Florida, public schools before becoming a dean and then a principal.
He was principal at William R. Boone High in Orlando. The school was built in 1952 and underwent an eight-year renovation that added a media center and updated other buildings. When it was complete, the new media center was named for him. The school’s nonprofit foundation endowed the Hugh E. Hattabaugh Leadership Award in 2005, a scholarship which gives $1,000 each year to a graduating senior. He was inducted into the Boone Hall of Fame in 2006.
Hattabaugh’s leadership has also been recognized by his alma mater, Salem High School in Indiana. He was named to the school’s Academic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Hattabaugh will join Lake County Schools in Florida after leaving CMS, where he will be chief academic officer.