District 6 Representative Tim Morgan has served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board for almost a year now, but his passion for civil service and politics is long-standing. During an interview I found out about the challenges he faces as a board member, how he stays focused, and how he cools off on the weekends.
Where did you live before you moved to Charlotte?
I was born in Rome, NY and lived there for 3 years before moving to Charlotte. My earliest memories are from growing up here.
When you think about your time at Independence HS, what stands out in your memory?
I absolutely loved high school. Some of my closest adult friends are my high school buddies and we’re still close today. Independence was a great place to go to school. The teachers were great, and so were the extra-circulars.
Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?
Rick Sharpe, who taught Physics, Leadership, and was also involved in my Student Government. He treated us as adults. He also provided students with a lot of flexibility and allowed us to do what was neccesary to be good leaders.
What was your favorite subject? What was your best subject?
My favorites were my history classes and my best was biology.
Were you in any clubs or organizations while attending Appalachian State or UNC-Chapel Hill?
At Appalachian State, where I got my bachelor’s degree, I was a Resident Assistant for 2 years, and I was involved with Student Government. I got my master’s degree in public administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, and I just focused on my studies and the graduate program.
How did your service on the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Commission prepare you for serving on the CMS board?
In a couple ways: It helped me develop relationships with elected officials on the county commission, which are still important relationships today, as they are (CMS’s) biggest funders. It gave me the opportunity to experience first- hand how to handle challenges associated with citizens who were upset. I got to work with governmental staff and gain a great understanding of how that staff has to operate.
You’ve been on the board for a year now, what’s been your biggest challenge?
The time commitment. We handle important issues, and the economy has created some challenges for our operations. That requires a lot of time looking at budget. Overall it takes a lot of time.
What is the most rewarding part of serving on the board?
The most rewarding part is the knowledge that we are making a difference. What the students are doing with the 12 years we have them is going to be the most influential part of their life. I’m excited about the direction we’re moving in, like closing the achievement gap, and I love being a part of that.
Those meetings can get long and they’re packed with information. How do you stay focused?
Luckily Dr. Gorman and his staff meet with us beforehand so we have an idea of what’s coming. He provides us with an opportunity to ask questions, and gives us great prep which makes focusing easier.
How does what you read or see in the media affect your decisions as board member?
What I read has less influence on decisions than the conversations I have with constituents. Listening to parents about their ideas has much more influence than what I read or see in the media.
How do you handle the stress? Do you have a favorite hobby?
I’m a scout master and our troop does a lot of back-packing and camping. I really enjoy working with the troops. It’s what keeps me recharged and focused.
Say it’s Saturday and you want to spend some quality time with your wife and kids. Where do you take them or what do you do?
For quality time we like to get outside and go hiking or camping to Grandfather Mountain or to the Wilson Creek water falls.
Do you still buy books or do you have an electronic reader?
I buy books.
What’s the last book you bought?
Bushwhackers, which is an account of the civil war in the North Carolina mountains.
If you were a superhero, what would you want your superhuman power to be?
To clone myself… multiple times!
Is there anything else you wish the public would know about you?
I love what I’m doing and I’m glad that I ran for this position. It’s an important time for the school board. We have some hard decisions to make that may not be necessarily popular but I like the direction we are going in.