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CMS mourns longtime educator, principal
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has lost a wonderful educator and dedicated leader. Villa Heights Academic Center Principal James Aiken died on March 17. He was 52.

Counselors and learning community staff have been on hand at the school to provide support to staff and students.

Senior administrative secretary Lisa Hall-Anthony worked with Aiken for 20 years.

“He was loved by all,” she said. “He touched so many people. Everyone that came in contact with him became a friend. He knew everybody’s name. He treated everyone the same. He always had a joke for you.”

Villa Heights Principal James AikenAiken began his career with CMS in 1980, working at several schools, including Allenbrook, Thomasboro and Westerly Hills. In 1989, he became an assistant principal at Wilson Middle.

He became assistant principal of Villa Heights Academic Center in 1997, the only full magnet school for learning immersion (K-2) and talent development (gifted 3-5) students. In June 1999, Aiken was named principal of the school. Under his leadership, the school has enjoyed tremendous academic success, including several consecutive years of high growth.

“This is a hard blow to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and devastating news to the school,” said Superintendent Dr. Peter C. Gorman. “Principal Aiken provided great leadership and was the heart and soul of the Villa Heights family.”

Aiken graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in 1979. He earned a master’s degree from UNC Charlotte in 1989.

Funeral services for Mr. Aiken are scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, at First Baptist Church (301 E. 1st Street) in Cherryville, NC. The family will receive visitors from 2 to 3 p.m.

Cards and/or flowers can be sent to:

Willie Mae Aiken (mother)

722 South Mountain Street

Cherryville, NC  28021



James E. Aiken, Sr. (father)

319 Yorkshire Drive

Charlotte, NC  28217



Ebony and White Funeral Home

1139 East Pine Street

Lincolnton, NC  28092


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