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CMS names new leadership at seven schools

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will put new leadership in seven struggling schools as part of the district-wide goal to improve academic achievement. The reassignments, announced Feb. 10 by Dr. Peter Gorman, will take effect March 1, giving the new principals time to prepare for the 2009-2010 school year.

The reassignments will double the schools participating in the district’s Strategic Staffing Initiative, which began a year ago with new leadership at seven schools.

The schools getting new principals under the initiative are Allenbrook, Ashley Park, Druid Hills, Paw Creek and Thomasboro elementary schools. Two middle schools – Bishop Spaugh and Albemarle Road – will also receive new leadership. The schools formerly led by the new leaders will be led by assistant or interim principals until additional staffing decisions are made.

“Effective leadership at the school level is essential,” Dr. Gorman said. “We can’t raise student achievement without strong leadership. We chose the schools for this year’s strategic staffing based on data and school performance, and we also used data and performance to select the new principals.”

The Strategic Staffing Initiative provides a mix of financial and hiring incentives for principals and the staff they bring with them to the new assignment. The principals will make a three-year commitment to their new schools, and will receive a 10 percent merit pay supplement (also factored into retirement) and an ABC bonus if their school shows high growth in the second year.

 “We are also giving these principals the flexibility to choose some key players on their teams,” Dr. Gorman said. Principals may bring an assistant principal and an academic facilitator, as well as choose as many as five teachers to join them.

The teachers will need to have shown strength in the classroom and to have met a minimum standard for growth in reading and math. The teachers will receive a $10,000 recruitment bonus with a three-year commitment, plus a $5,000 retention bonus in the second and third years.

“These changes can be difficult – but if CMS is going to succeed in raising student achievement, we must make these important changes,” Dr. Gorman said. “We recognize that this puts extra demands on the schools these principals are leaving – but raising student achievement is a district-wide goal. To achieve it, we must work together as a district.”

 The principals, their current schools and the schools they will be moving to, are:

  • Tonya Kales, presently at McAlpine, will lead Ashley Park.
  • Catherine Hammond, presently executive director of professional development, will lead Thomasboro.
  • Beverly Newsome, presently at Endhaven, will lead Druid Hills.
  • Denise Watts, presently at Mint Hill Middle, will lead Bishop Spaugh, a middle school.
  • Mary Jo Koenig, presently at Lansdowne, will lead Paw Creek.
  • Celeste Spears-Ellis, presently at Davidson Elementary, will lead Allenbrook.
  • Avery Mitchell, currently at Crestdale Middle, will lead Albemarle Road Middle.

The Strategic Staffing Initiative is aligned with the goal of Effective Educators in the Strategic Plan 2010: Educating Students to Compete Locally, Nationally and Internationally. That goal calls for strengthening the leadership and the teaching in CMS schools.


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Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
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