Dr. Heath E. Morrison joined Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in July 2012 from the Washoe County School District (Reno).
Dr. Morrison quickly established an entry plan, meeting with parents, employees, citizens and students in a series of public appearances and town hall meetings in his first 100 days. Using input and concerns from the community, he set the district’s course for his first year with The Way Forward, a document that identified key strategic goals and district direction.
In October 2013, Dr. Morrison unveiled a revised strategic plan for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Strategic Plan 2018: For a Better Tomorrow identifies six goals for the district. It places a strong focus on academic achievement, graduation rates and preparing students for post-secondary success. In the 2012-2013 school year, the graduation rate at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools rose to 81 percent, up nearly five percentage points from a year earlier. It was the fourth consecutive year of increase in the four-year cohort graduation rate and the largest increase in a single year since 2008-2009.
Dr. Morrison has also focused on preparing students for college, career or the military, placing greater emphasis on student enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and expanding the offerings of Career and Technical Education (CTE). Working with state and local officials, as well as CMS leadership, he restored the district’s policy of paying the fees for AP and IB tests for students and added a new policy of paying for CTE certification exams for CMS students.
Community engagement has been a strong focus since Dr. Morrison’s arrival in CMS. The district has engaged the public through a variety of methods, using surveys, town hall meetings, superintendent coffees and 22 task forces to study educational issues and challenges before providing recommendations for change.
During his tenure in Washoe, Nevada’s second-largest district, Dr. Morrison created a five-year strategic plan titled Envision WCSD 2015 – Investing in Our Future. Under his leadership, the graduation rate rose from 56 percent to 70 percent overall, with gains for all schools and all groups of students. Test scores rose, helping to narrow the achievement gap, and an increased number of students took more rigorous courses such as Advanced Placement and algebra classes.
Before joining WCSD, Dr. Morrison was community superintendent for the Down County Consortium in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. He has also worked as a principal in Charles County, Maryland.
He was named superintendent of the year in 2011 by the Nevada Association of School Superintendents and also by the Nevada Association of School Boards. In 2012, he was named national superintendent of the year by the American Association of School Administrators.
He holds a doctorate in educational policy and planning and a master of educational administration from the University of Maryland. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary.