Heath Morrison, who started work today as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools superintendent, was one of two favorites in a secret search for Dallas superintendent, The Dallas Morning News reports.
Morrison confirms most of the report by Matthew Haag, which Haag attributes to "two people with knowledge of the superintendent search." But he says he told Dallas "no thanks" before that board made its decision, opting instead to pursue the CMS job.
Morrison, who had been named national Superintendent of the Year in February, has said all along that he was approached by other districts and chose Charlotte because of the district's achievements and the chance to be close to family.
|Morrison at Endhaven Elementary|
Morrison was also among an unspecified number brought to the Charlotte airport for secret interviews with the CMS board March 20, and was among three finalists brought back to meet the public April 11.
After that interview, "the pick became clearer, according to the two people," Haag's report continues. "Miles promised trustees a more radical shakeup of the district and offered details on what it would take, a person said. Morrison, who told trustees he was also interviewing elsewhere, didn't offer as thorough a plan."
The Dallas article says none of the candidates who were not chosen responded to requests for comment.
Morrison, making his first-day appearances in Charlotte, told me Dallas, a larger district than CMS, offered significantly more money and the advantage of only making one finalist public. But he said he decided to take a chance as one of three finalists in CMS, in part because he and his wife have family on the East Coast. Immediately after the second private interview in Dallas, he said, he called the search firm to pull out, telling them "I felt like I needed to pursue Charlotte."
Meanwhile, I requested the minutes from the CMS board's closed sessions leading up to Morrison's hire. Here's what I got on the contract planning on April 10 and the negotiations with Morrison on April 24. I'd love to have gotten minutes reflecting more about the board's decision-making, but open-records experts from the UNC School of Government and the N.C. Press Association told me CMS is correct in keeping those confidential.