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CMS makes national news again

The October 18 Newsweek puts CMS in a positive light
The October 18 Newsweek puts CMS in a positive light
Shana LaCaria

Newsweek magazine recently published an article, “An Offer They Wouldn’t Refuse: How one district lured top principals to rescue its failing schools”. The author, Pat Wingert, commends the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools system for its success in turning around failing schools. Wingert gives high praise to CMS Superintendent Dr. Peter Gorman for his Strategic Staffing Initiative, which was launched in 2008.

In short, Strategic Staffing means that Gorman gives a 10% raise to high performing principals from highly successful schools to transfer to underperforming schools. With them the principals bring 5-7 staff members who also receive a 10% raise. Principals were also allowed to “transfer out” up to five teachers from their new school who were identified as not effective.

The program has, for the most part, been successful to this day. There are 20 total schools in the program, and most of them are showing tremendous growth in academics. Scores on state tests have risen as much as 20 points. A handful of Strategic Staffing schools however, are not as successful.

The Newsweek article also referenced Devonshire Elementary as a school turned around by the program, and quoted Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark as being very pleased with the willingness of principals to take on the challenge.

Wingert pointed out that the success of CMS has caught the attention of prestigious national leaders like US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as well as other reform-minded superintendents from around the country.

This isn’t the first time in the past several weeks that CMS has made national news. Back in September, NBC news crews visited Sterling Elementary School as part of their “Education Nation” programming. Fourth grade student Jev’on Dixon was followed for a day and commended for his academic turn around. Nancy Guzman, also of Sterling, was celebrated as a successful Strategic Staffing principal. Garinger High School Senior Rachael Wise had the distinction of serving as the only student on an “Education Nation” discussion panel.

Despite less than positive reports from local media outlets, national media and key educational reformers praise the efforts made by CMS.

To read the Newsweek article go to

To see a video clip from NBC’s “Education Nation” featuring CMS go to


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