Superintendent Heath Morrison may need to move faster than a speeding bullet to deliver on a statement in a recent email to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees: "I intend to visit all schools in CMS during my first three months."
I asked him about the mathematics of that plan. CMS has 159 schools. He starts work July 1. School starts Aug. 27, which gives him 24 days with students and teachers in school by the time his first three months end in September. He's already been visiting during interviews and follow-up trips to Charlotte, but even if he knocks 39 schools off the list before the starting bell, he'd have to hit five schools every school day to meet his goal.
Morrison says his plan is ambitious but not impossible: "
He's probably right about the effort. After Peter Gorman made his high-profile entrance in 2006, I remember hearing grumbles from staff at schools he hadn't visited. And Morrison makes a good impression in face-to-face meetings.
Classroom Teachers Association President Judy Kidd tends to be skeptical of politicians and officials. She says when she first read Morrison's line about being "a teacher on special assignment," it sounded phony. But after meeting him recently, Kidd said Morrison strikes her as genuine.
Board member Rhonda Lennon hosted Morrison and a group of north suburban parents and community leaders Friday night (joined, she says, by a few south Charlotte folks). "He took time to talk to each family who was here -- and they shared the good/bad/ugly about their experiences at CMS," Lennon posted on Facebook. "It was truly amazing watching Heath interact with the students and talk to them about their schools and personal academic accomplishments."