Monday, June 10, 2013

CMS shakeup afoot

Superintendent Heath Morrison is reorganizing his administration,  but his office says he won't be ready to announce any changes until at least next week.

The timing makes sense,  as he wraps up his first year with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  When Morrison made his first round of appointments last summer,  I voiced surprise that he hadn't brought anyone from his previous district in Reno, Nev.  He said he told his top people he wanted them to stay in place for at least a year to help the new superintendent with the transition.  After that, he said, he'd consider hiring them.  That told me Morrison,  who is nothing if not methodical,  was looking ahead to a second stage of filling out his leadership team in Charlotte.

The Wake County school board's delay in hiring a superintendent leaves a lingering question mark for CMS,  with Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark as one of three Wake finalists.  Clark played a key role in Morrison's first year,  but he's clearly prepared to fill the gap if she gets the job.  And he's been holding off on hiring a chief academic officer,  a post he calls crucial to the district's long-term success,  while letting Clark oversee academics.

I wouldn't be surprised to see changes in the administrative zones that schools report to.  CMS currently has six:  The Project LIFT zone,  encompassing the West Charlotte High feeder area;  two others that oversee all other schools with poverty levels of 75 percent or higher;  and three that split the lower-poverty schools geographically.  Two of the zone superintendent posts are vacant,  and superintendents tend to like to line up schools by their own method.

Let me know what you hear about the changes,  and what you'd like to see happen to make central offices work effectively for schools,  employees and taxpayers.


Anonymous said...

Rumor is 7-8 zones with lots of additional midlevel managers. The real question is: When will Frank Barnes get the ax? He has had to go back on at least three major policies so far this year.....

Anonymous said...

Don't know, but some of the recent changes ( zone execs going to school-level positions) make it seem like the "insiders" know that change is afoot.

Anonymous said...

So, he'll hire a bunch of his friends who will take another year to learn about NC and CMS. In the meantime, students and teachers continue to get the short changed.

Anonymous said...

I think this is part of his management by confusion. Year one, create task forces and make it seem like I am really busy. Year two, reshuffle the deck and then we can say we are making change and we are really working hard. Year three, we finally figure out he doesn't know his head from his rear and the board cans him. This guy just isn't that smart folks.

Wiley Coyote said...

These zones are useless. I haven't seen where they have done anything to improve teaching two plus two.

First year, Morrison was in evaluation mode.

Second year, Morrison will put his cronies in place.

Third year, Morrison will evade direct questions about what's going on in CMS as that was the first year his new adminitration was in place.

Fourth year, Morrison will actually have to show major improvements.

Fifth year, Morrison will be gone.

Sixth year, we start all over again.

Wiley Coyote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wiley Coyote said...


Great minds think alike!!!!

Anonymous said...

First off he has not been with CMS for a full year yet. Thats a 12 month period with 52 weeks involved for most professionals. He has really made few to no changes so far from a district that had no superintendant prior. So if he is bringing in folks that are going to take a few years to lay their game plan it will be too late. He has already spent tax payer money bringing in the 2 clowns he already did. Again their value is minimal since no decisions have been made with in CMS. This is another business model with no success. BTW I did see some buses on the road Friday for end of year rides with kids hanging out the sides of them. Very dangerous and every bus should have a teacher or administrator on it the last week of school. Dangerous things happen when nobody is supervising these kids.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Pete Gorman made a lot of major decisions fairly quickly, citing budget pressure (think school closings, creating preK-8s, changing bell schedules, adding 45 minutes to the elementary-school day).

Heath Morrison came in saying he wasn't going to rush into changes without getting in-depth views from employees and the public. Thus, you have a lot of task forces, surveys and "let's talk" meetings so far and not a lot of sweeping change.

The key question for most folks will be whether the decisions he ultimately makes will be better for taking more time.

Anonymous said...

and speaking of buses, just ask those kids who are bringing their technology to school what they're doing on the bus....can you say porn? CMS needs to look into what is going on at Community House Middle with technology and porn, and let the community know.

Anonymous said...

There's at least one competent and very knowledgeable person in HR. This person gave me extensive guidance in making my decision to retire and put CMS in the past. I have a sense that many others have as well.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:56am.

CMS doesn't have a clue how to manage technology.

The next few years will prove it and be extremely embarrassing to them all.

Considering that these devices can also record video and audio and just how out of control many kids are - especially those with minimal parental supervision (and parental education!), the fun is just beginning.

Anonymous said...

Three more years and then I can visit that "one competent and very knowledgeable person in HR" and put CMS in my past!

Anonymous said...

The BOCC should not raise taxes on behalf of CMS until its administration cuts non-teaching salaries by 20%.

Anonymous said...

Ann, how about digging into the technology issue? BYOT is a joke- unless you like your kids taking pictures and playing minecraft during the school day. Don't agree with about then countless devices just left unattended at desks. How many have been "lost" this year? Please Community House Middle School parents-speak up!!!
Also, how about digging into the non-existent Talent Development program at some schools-another joke.

Anonymous said...

Oh BYOT, oh BYOT, oh BYOT, how art though.

How could i live without you?

My ES principal said he's revolutionizing education with you.

How could I live without you?

We used to read books during free time in class. Now we play games and take pictures, and look at bad websites with you.

How could I live without you???????

Anonymous said...

3 step plan:
1. Downsize admin.
2. Downsize admin.
3. Downsize admin.

Anonymous said...

Give Dr. Morrison a chance at his job. There are too many YOUNG teachers in CMS who may have got certified as teachers but they are NOT true teachers. Lateral entry teachers --almost all of them are nothing but a joke as well as the Teachers for America teachers. What CMS needs is dedicated TRUE God given teachers who really know the subject area and who get along well with the students. Many retired teachers who want to return to teaching should be hired and help the young teachers and show them the "ropes" of what it is in being a truly dedicated teacher. Remember there is no raise again this year for teachers because the General Assembly and the County Commissioners had to make sure the Carolina Panthers got their millions of dollars for Jerry Richardson. I am willing to give Dr. Morrison a chance but he needs to let Ann Clarke go. She was in competition with him for the CMS Superintendent's job, another superintendent's job and now the Wake County job. She needs to go and then some of the "well loved principals" that she caters too will have to do a better job at their schools or fear of losing their principalship. Come on HEATH and get the leadership in place and let's get on with teaching. As long as Ann Clarke is in your administration you will NEVER be able to accomplish what you need to do.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I applaud Dr. Morrison's courage to stand up and right what has been wrong with CMS leadership for several years. Too many of these so-called leaders in various Central Office, principalships, directorships, etc. simply do not know their jobs! People who were not connected to Dr. Gorman or Ann Clark are not being given the opportunity to be placed in leadership positions yet as Assistant Principals they are being required to "train" these "so-called" New Leaders for New Schools which is an example of how CMS is willing to neglect/compromise it's reputation for money. These so-called New Leaders" are no more prepared to run a school after their training than the we're before. Look at the data and see if these leaders made any difference in the schools that they were recruited to lead, if anything the schools have become worst! Dr. Morrison, you are definitely on the right track.....continue to clean house!

Anonymous said...

Oh, boy...

Free Breakfast for everyone!

Wiley will love that.

Anonymous said...

I want to know how free breakfast would work for the HS and the schools with the 7:45 start time.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Dr. Morrison paying Kelly Gwaltney HR Chief 160,000,00 a year to "fix" HR. Why do they still have so many vacancies? All the money they are spending to pay Executive Directors 104,000.00 a year could be put towards our schools. Maybe Dr. Morrison needs to take a second look at HR.

Wiley Coyote said...


$2 BILLION Dollars from the NSLP is wasted by students, thrown away.

$1.5 BILLION dollars in overpayments to people who do not qualify.

The USDA refuses to allow school systems to fully audit the program, only allowing a 3% sample audit. One CMS audit found 60% did not qualify based on responses given.

Any BOE member who votes for this is only placating constituents and looking for votes.

Many school systems already provide free meals for all students, whether they can afford them or not. Detroit is a perfect example so why hasn't Detroit shown great advances in test scores and graduation rates?

Statistics show that the average elementary student wastes 25% of their lunch. Two independent research groups audited lunchroom waste and their findings were staggering. The first group audited a school in Loveland, Colorado and found the amount of fruit that ended up in the trash topped 40% while 32-44% of the vegetables were thrown out. Ethan Bergman, a professor in the Dept. of Health and Human Performance at Central Washington University who studies school nutrition says this, “On the days they’re serving broccoli or cauliflower, you look in the garbage and it’s all green or white.” Seven Generations Ahead, a non-profit group, conducted another study in Chicago and found that in one school alone students were discarding 334 lbs. of food in a single day! It is estimated that this kind of food waste costs taxpayers $2 billion dollars through the National School Lunch Program....from

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:06pm.

How about an All-Day Free Breakfast Buffet?

That way everyone gets their free pancakes.

Notice that they didn't promise much protein. Just carbs.

So it's BYOB.

Bring Your Own Bacon...

(Except maybe in those "rich" suburban schools, eh?)

Anonymous said...

The funny thing about the "free" breakfast thing isn't so much that it's about nutrition for the kids as it is saving face for the alleged "poor" kids.

(Or, rather, the kids whose parents CLAIM the free lunch, poor or not.)

If only we could make people feel half the shame for not learning that we do for not having money, we would have great schools.

Anonymous said...

Another program by the feds with no legs towards educating children. The food they will serve is not full of nutrients. Its another shell game to waste millions of federal tax dollars. Pay our teachers more !

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Wiley on the FRDL issue. I have taken my kids lunch a few times a year for 6-8 years. It always amazes me how much food is thrown out that is given on the FRDL program. It might serve a purpose for some students who actually eat the food , but too many do not. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

If you look at a neighborhood demographic map printed recently in the CO and the income level that equated to poor, you would see the vast majority of CMS teachers including myself not in the middle class but part of the "working poor." Despite high levels of student achievement and growth in my students neither the NC House nor the NC Senate proposed a teacher raise. Coupled with a previous posting that stated that up to 60% of those receiving FORL lied about their income, my income is posted by the Observer. Thus can I have free breakfast too? I would like to request a variety: eggs (sunny side up, over-easy, and scrambled), pancakes, French Toast, hash browns, orange juice, lots of coffee. When I feel like going against my doctor's orders, I even enjoy a little bacon, sausage, and grits (with cheese). I think this proposal is only fair and only a partial compensation since I would be making appx 8k more per year in NC if we followed the step procedure that I was hired under.

Wiley Coyote said...

Problems with CMS implementing another policy/program without giving it thought.

•Students will need time to eat breakfast
•Buses may need to be unloaded as they arrive instead of holding students until a later time
•Staff will be needed to monitor students
•Additional trash will need to be handled
•Can students take breakfast to the classroom?

–Breakfast consumed during classroom timecan be counted as instructional time

–Grants are available to fund kiosks in halls and breakfast vending machines

Extra time? Two years ago, most parents were complaining about adding 45 minutes to the school day and bell times. Now this.

Also, follow the money people. Look at who is supporting this program and here's the KEY FACTS:

•State funding subsidizes reduced-price breakfast so that it can be offered at no charge
•54% of CMS students receive meal benefits
•Average reimbursement per breakfast is $1.71
•Average cost of providing breakfast is $1.61

It's a money maker folks. Chicago Public Schools made $9.8 MILLION on their school lunch program.

So you see, there is NO incentive whatsoever to weed out the waste and fraud in the program.

Perhaps our state legislature will begin requiring proof of benefits since the USDA won't allow it.

Here is the key to doing it:

•State funding subsidizes reduced-price breakfast so that it can be offered at no charge

Are you reading this state representatives?

Ann Doss Helms said...

Wiley, you're pulling those concerns from the CMS report, right? That indicates to me that whether or not you agree with the conclusions, they are giving it thought.

Wiley Coyote said...

Yes they came from the report.

Google the program and you'll see this is a push nationwide using basically the same talking points.

Further expansion of the Federal Government which trickles down to more from the state and local govberments.

The Senate just passed the Farm Bill with 1/2 percent in cuts and now it goes to the House.

The House wants to cut 3 percent and also make getting benefits for SNAP tighter.

The Senate version would end up saving about $2.4 billion a year on the farm and nutrition programs, including across-the-board cuts that took effect earlier this year, while the House version would save about $4 billion a year.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The last time Congress passed a farm bill, Democrats had control of the House and the food stamp program was about half the size it is today.

That was five years ago.

Yes, they are giving it thought. Let's see what the vote turns out to be.

Anonymous said...

How about free brunch for the kids who go to school at 9:15 a.m.? It could be a whole other set of unhealthy foods.

Anonymous said...

All of it is just beyond criminally comical. 6 figure people who do little to nothing for our kids, principals pulling salaries for simply following directions from clueless 6 figure pulling criminally comical clowns. Administrators pulling high 80 and 90 dollar salaries for following directions of principals pulling salaries for simply following directions from clueless 6 figure pulling criminally comical clowns. Teachers aimlessly being told to build an airplane while its is flying on a budget not fit for fruit flies. A I witnessed a Superintentend, BOE members, and county commissioners posture at a recent graduation over who should be the person who led out a group of hard working seniors graduating. My opinion.... Those clowns should have worked as ushers to those kids and parents.... What a joke. Give me my money, give me my title, and let me move on to a better paying position in this top heavy profession the public calls education..... Criminal.

Anonymous said...

Your analysis, in a nutshell, is the most astute assessment of the doofussness that reigns in CMS I've read in a long time. Add inedible free breakfast for everyone. The general population would gasp at the amount of milk and overly processed industrial food that goes right directly to the dumpster.

Wiley Coyote said...

Thank you Ms. Stinson-Wesley for voting against the free breakfast program.

At least one BOE member had the guts to do it.

Anonymous said...

It should be pretty clear why principals are leaving CMS. Turmoil, confusion, no respect. Notice all the young teachers and principals in CMS. Ask the simple question why? Morrison is not a change agent...not until he figures out what to change to keep quality personnel.. Good luck CMS next year with all the new staff and incompetent people Morrison brought to us.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Morrison really needs to take a closer look at leadership across the district, especially in areas of HR. The alignment of HR organization is totally off and needs to be restructured. The new structure that was created for the Human Resources has been a mess and the result of two teams let go. Ann, you need to dig into what really happen in HR when Kelly Gwaltney took over. Why do you have an Onboarding and Sourcing team that does no recruiting? Would that impose why there are close to 500 jobs to be filled? Yet, we are paying an ED a six figure salary to run a team that does no recruiting but source people? (hmmmm). Why did CMS let go of their entire recruiting departing? These are questions that need to be addressed, and concerns for where public funds are really going. Are they going toward educating our children, or to best friends who are ill-competent of doing their jobs.
Why did Kelly Gwaltney make a decision that impacted tenure staff? There is no result from her changes, Morrison please start by giving Kelly her pink slip. I do not understand how the board approved of her being in charge of HR when she clearly has no experience in HR. Her so-called leadership skills are not enough to be CHRO of an urban school district. This will all surface soon what is done in the dark will come to light. Ann Clark and Kelly need to be the first to go! They are holding the district back, and this is the chance for CMS to really change the structure and leadership of the organization. It's not the employees who are causing the issues, it's the incompetent leadership team!

Anonymous said...

A classic case of the Peter Principle over an entire organization. It's also the network of outside vendors SAS,TFA,New Teachers Project, survey this, survey that, that are draining resources. At least the Bobcats figured one and done was needed for their leadership.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see a few comments about the new BYOT program. I guess CMS thought it would save them money for all those little kiddos, and big kiddos, to bring in their I-phones and Ipads. It's been a fun time for the students though! And gives the teachers a break from actual teaching. Sounds like a win, win to me.

Ben Cook said...

Its time for Ann Clark to go! She is completely responsible for the mess CMS HR department is in. Case in point, the new CHRO has no HR experience and totally dependent on her executive directors (keep in mind three of them have no HR experience either). While the excuse is often, hey you don't need experience at that level; that would be like asking a business manager to be a principal. Hey, you don't need experience in education. Wake up Mecklenburg county! A critical area that can lead to transformation for CMS is an efficient and effective Human Resources division.

It is more then just recruiting but crafting a package of services and benefits that will lead to not only steller recruitment but strong retention.

Anonymous said...

9:33am Interesting for me to read. I am relatively new to the area and have many years of experience in elementary education. I submitted my resume to CMS a few months ago for several positions that I was a perfect fit for, and still no follow up to my resume or email. Now after reading all these comments, maybe I should search elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

9:33 AM, 12:37 AMEN! Finally finally finally the real truth. I applaud you both for telling it.

Those who are insiders can tell the real story and I for one am so glad it is getting out there.
For that reason, 12:31 PM.... you need to RUN. I hear Union County is hiring! :-)

At this point, I wonder if there is any cure for the BROAD virus that now plagues CMS? It seems incurable. I guess we'll find out in a couple of weeks when 'changes' are made?

Wiley Coyote said...

The three comments before this one are interesting and very concerning...

Anonymous said...

I want someone to deliver free breakfast to my car while I idle on I-485. It will make me much more efficient when I arrive at work. I am entitled to it.