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CMS to partner with corporate community to address key challenges

Today Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh, along with Charlotte Executive Leadership Council (CELC) Chair Mike Lamach, announced a new partnership. Building upon the various engagement efforts and previous support from Charlotte's corporate community for the local school district, this new partnership expands that engagement and will provide significant resources to address key challenges impacting students.

"In light of the pandemic and other historic challenges school districts are experiencing, we are grateful that members of the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council (CELC) reached out to CMS leadership and asked how they could help," said Board of Education Chairwoman Elyse Dashew. "Through dialogue, we determined where the corporate community is uniquely positioned to provide our school system with significant support."

CMS identified and shared their biggest areas of need and CELC members have stepped forward with significant engagement to address those specific areas. The CMS Foundation has facilitated the collaboration between CMS and the CELC and will continue serving in this role going forward.

"The members of the CELC recognized the crisis that school systems throughout the nation are facing," said CELC Chairman Mike Lamach. "We are not educators. We do, however, have access to resources and expertise that can support school leadership and staff in their critical work to serve our students."

As part of the partnership, two well-known corporate community leaders will serve as Senior Advisors to the Superintendent and the School Board regarding corporate engagement:

  • Charles Bowman, recently retired President of Bank of America North Carolina
  • Frank Emory, EVP and Chief Administrative Officer for Novant Health

With several company commitments already secured, CMS will benefit from additional expertise, support, and resources in several key areas:

  • Retention and recruitment of teachers, administrators, and support staff
  • Increased school safety
  • Improved access to physical and mental health services
  • Effective and sustainable tutoring programs
  • Extensive, needs-based school partnerships
  • Communication of utilization of COVID-19 federal dollars
  • Operational improvements to critical processes

Engagement will include the participation of several loaned executives who will support the key areas. These executives will serve full-time within the school system over the next 12-18 months. Four have already been named:

  • Raki McGregor, Senior Vice President with Novant Health, who will report directly to Interim Superintendent Hattabaugh and will serve as lead liaison on this specific corporate engagement
  • LaShauna Lowry, Executive Director with Ally Financial, who will report to Deputy Superintendent Matthew Hayes and lead efforts in tutoring
  • Rich Miller, Lean Business Leader with Atrium Health's Performance Excellence Center, will join the CMS Strategy team to lead efforts on process management, and
  • Vanessa Sencherey, Lean Business Leader with Atrium Health's Performance Excellence Center, will also join the CMS Strategy team to lead efforts on process management.

Additional components of the partnership include the engagement of experts to serve on task forces addressing the focus areas, the commitment of 1,000+ tutoring volunteers, facilitation of a tutoring workshop, and at least three companies to participate in school partnership pilots, with dozens more companies standing ready to engage further.

CELC member organizations will release additional details and announcements over time regarding this unique partnership.

"Providing our students with a world-class education is our goal, and it will require a community-wide effort to achieve," said Interim CMS Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh. "We are grateful to the corporate community for its long-term, ongoing support and for this specific effort which brings valuable expertise and capacity to our district and the work at hand. United, Charlotte can be a model of community and corporate engagement and its impact on the success of schools."

About CMS

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) provides academic instruction, rigor and support each school day to more than 140,000 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in 180 schools throughout Mecklenburg County. CMS is proud of its diverse mix of students who represent 184 countries and speak 204 languages and dialects. CMS offers an extensive range of magnet programs in 71 of its schools to nurture the talents of students who have interest and ability in specific areas. CMS also educates, supports and meets the needs of students with learning and physical disabilities.

About CMS Foundation

The CMS Foundation is the official nonprofit partner for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, raising money to support the district's highest strategic priorities. Harnessing the power of private investments in education, we seed innovative ideas and help expand programs to accelerate system-wide transformation. As a trusted bridge connecting donors to the district's most critical work, we help ensure investments in our school system have a meaningful, sustainable impact on our students and educators.

About CELC

The Charlotte Executive Leadership Council unites CEOs and business leaders from the Charlotte area's leading businesses, healthcare systems, and colleges/universities to advocate for impactful solutions that improve Charlotte's economic vitality, equitable opportunity and quality of life for all.

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
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