June 6, 2021
To the Class of 2021,
You did it.
You successfully navigated one of the most challenging periods in our nation’s history to arrive at your graduation day.
You focused. You cast a vision and a commitment for your own success and delivered. Despite a number of circumstances that could have been a barrier, you have arrived at this moment. Congratulations.
What I would most like you to know as you complete your experience as a student of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, is that what you have learned this year is likely your most valuable education. Beyond any curriculum you have studied and absorbed, the persistence and skills you called upon in recent months will be a lesson you can draw upon for the rest of your life.
And for that, I am most proud.
As you begin your celebrations and look back on your years as a student, I trust you will find that a number of people in your life helped you to arrive at this significant accomplishment. Your parents, your teachers, your principals, your friends, and many others supported you in big ways and small because they cared. This is how community works. None of us arrive at success on our own.
You are an important member of this community. With your success and your skills, you are now an inspiration to others. I invite you to look forward and consider how you would like to use this for the greater good.
May your future be prosperous. May it be healthy. And may you use the learning you have received to create a better future for all of us.
May 4, 2021
To Our Dedicated Teachers,
Every May, Teacher Appreciation Week is the kick-off to our Staff Appreciation Month celebration.
Today, I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for your unwavering dedication to teaching. We honor your service and commitment to our students. This year, more than ever before, you have shown resilience, innovation, and compassion in the face of continuous change and disruption.
This school year presented hardships unlike any other. Yet, you've risen to the challenge, learning new technology, adapting to hybrid learning, and connecting with children and families in creative ways to engage our students and ensure an excellent educational opportunity is available to every child.
You have shown how much you care about our students and families. During this challenging year, you have been there to encourage and inspire, provide social and emotional support, and positively impact children in your classrooms – virtual and in-person. Your contributions are making a difference every day.
Today, May 4 is National Teacher Appreciation Day. However, I want to assure you that your hard work is recognized more than one day or one week a year. At Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, you are valued year-round.
Thank you for your devotion to the academic success of our students.
I hope you know how much I appreciate all that you do.
April 20, 2021
Dear CMS families, staff and partners,
Today the family of George Floyd received a measure of justice.
The judicial process in this matter has concluded, but the healing for Mr. Floyd's family and the nation is just beginning. The jury in this case determined that a person in a position of authority is not immune to accountability for his actions. That a person responsible for enforcing laws cannot do so in a manner that treats one group of people differently than others.
There remain inequities in the treatment of black and brown people in many aspects of our society. It is my hope that the terrible situation resulting in the death of Mr. Floyd and subsequent trial and conviction of Derek Chauvin becomes a point we can one day look back on as the period when the tide began to turn. Attitudinal shifts and policy changes must be made to dismantle systemic racism that exists throughout our country.
While the jury's verdict brings a sense of closure to this particular chapter, I realize that emotions and feelings for many in our community remain difficult to process. Our school counselors are available for students who wish to talk and have someone listen and provide support. I encourage employees to utilize resources available to us through our employee assistance program provider LifeCare, available via this link: LifeCare EAP.
March 26, 2021
I want to share some thoughts about something that has been on my heart and mind for some time now.
What I want for my children and every human being is one of life’s most basic philosophies – love.
For only love can conquer hate.
As we take steps forward in the battle against one deadly disease that is the pandemic, progress seems slower in the fight against another virus.
I am – and we all should be – alarmed, saddened, and angered by a rise in racist violence targeting those of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent. As I have shared regarding racist behavior, hate, and bigotry toward other members of the community, racism and hate of any kind have no place in our school system or in society.
Sadly, recent acts – some highly visible and covered by national media and many others receiving less attention – represent the continuation of a long history of anti-Asian discrimination in the U.S. We can no longer tolerate this behavior and we can no longer stand idly by while we see others bullying or attacking fellow members of our community, regardless of race or ethnic affiliation.
More than 11,000 CMS students, approximately 7.5 percent, identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander. Their contributions add to the diversity that is one of the strengths of CMS of which we should be proudest. We stand by our AAPI students, families, staff, and partners and stand together against racist comments, threats, bullying, or attacks. Such behavior won’t be condoned within CMS, and cannot be allowed in our community and society.
The principles of antiracist thought, belief, and action apply equally to all. I am pleased that CMS is taking leadership in training and development to foster antiracist mindsets that inform all that we do as district leaders and school staff. This education will continue, and accelerate as much as possible, so racism is rooted out, laid bare for all to see, and left to wither into a memory of an era we must remember so as not to allow such atrocities to ever again gain so much as a foothold.
We are committed to providing healthy learning environments and encouraging staff, families, and students to develop within and beyond the classroom. In keeping with that spirit of stewardship, the attached link provides a listing of resources for further information about this issue.