Friday, April 20, 2012

Buzzword bingo: Get a head start

With a new superintendent coming to town,  lots of folks are going to be looking for the inside track.  It never hurts to drop the right buzzwords,  so here's my tip:  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is going from good to great.

Reno Superintendent Heath Morrison,  who got the nod from the CMS board Thursday,  made repeated references to Jim Collins'  "Good to Great,"  and it seems to be his catch phrase for CMS.  Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark also told me she wants to help Morrison take the district from good to great.  They may be working on banners as we speak.

I know I should read the book,  but I've already got Peter Gorman's leadership book on order and a second management manual might make my head explode.  So if you've picked up on some other key phrases, from the book or from the public appearances,  pass them along. 


Jarmichael Marquise Lynn said...

Betcha Morrison won't send his kids to Harding ... !! Wonder which private school he'll send them to?

Anonymous said...

"Downtown changed their mind, PDP's are due Friday."
"I don't care how they did it in the military."
"No chance of exclusion."

Wiley Coyote said...

....I remember a key phrase from not so long ago...

"Hope & Change".

What did that get us? the past 15 years.......

Dr. Eric Smith (1996–2002)
Dr. James L. Pughsley (2002–2005)
Dr. Frances Haithcock (2005–2006)
Dr. Peter Gorman (2006-2011)
Hugh Hattabaugh (2011-2012)
Heath Morrison (2013-)

Current "achievement gap" is 24 points.

.....15 years into the future - 2027, the "achievement gap" will be closed?

I didn't realize CMS has been "good" the past 15 years.

Christine Mast said...

I don't necessarily have a buzzword yet, but I truly hope he stops saying "Charlotte Mecklenburg" schools... just say CMS like the rest of us. I don't know why I find it so annoying, but I do.

Anonymous said...

Can Morrisson save Harding and all those other schools and communities that Pete decimated?

Ann, it is time to investigate why cms security and the police are suppressing reports of discipline problems at Harding. Also ask how many teachers are leaving and how many new hires are staying only a few days. How many staff have had to go out on medical leave or quit because of the stress from the hostile work environment?

Teachers are being left out on their own when classes of students become hostile. It is rumored that a teacher threw a chair the other day.

Teachers are tired of the bullying and intimidation tactics of the administration so CMS better prepare for a huge turnover of teachers at that school. They are not only leaving Harding, they are leaving the education profession; just ask TFA and Teach Charlotte teachers. Fear of retaliation has kept teachers from letting CMS know.

Anonymous said...

In an interview with NPS's Lisa Miller, Dr. Morrison said that his two children will attend CMS schools. He also made the point that they will both graduate from CMS. I think he said the youngest child was nine years old. Who knows if you can believe him or not, but those were his words. At least he is saying the right thing. You can listen to the entire interview at

Anonymous said...

How about "equity", "justice", and, to really hammer home your point, "apartheid"--a term certain local activists would hurl at the school board every once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

He still is not signed to a deal yet. If I were him I would have Tim Tebow's agent working for me. Since you dont have another option I would take you to the cleaners. Great announcement by Ericka ahead of having a "done deal". I guess thats our leader with 0 business back ground. One would think even Kojo could help her with that.

Ann Doss Helms said...

7:57, youngest is 12. And you're right; there's no way he's going to put either child in a private school.

Anonymous said...

I dont like the guy already if he is not willing to look at our great private schools. The way CMS is going their may not be any seats left in private schools for him.

Anonymous said...

I want dibs on "differentiated instruction".

Wiley Coyote said...


Morrison says nothing is off the table as far as budget cuts go. That could ultimately mean closed campuses, no high school sports, and the elimination of gifted and talented programs.

That was April 25, 2011, 5 days removed from one year ago.

All of the recommendations Gorman made to alleviate his budget shortfall here were made by Morrison in Washoe County, including the closing of schools, laying off teachers, cutting out middle school sports and the big one - INCREASING class sizes.

Nevada also implemented a pay for performance program statewide.

"It gives us a chance to figure out what works, figure out what we need to change so that as we try to expand it across the school district we do it well and we do it accurately," said Dr. Morrison.

It makes you wonder if any of the BOE members bothered to read about that.

So, tell me again what the difference is between Morrison and Gorman?

Ann Doss Helms said...

Wiley and others who have faced the comment ban, you're going to love this: I logged on before heading to work this morning and checked out the comments on my story about Heath Morrison. What should greet me but the yellow bar saying "You have been blocked from posting new comments on this site." What??? Got in to work and I'm fine from here. Online folks say maybe some kind of temporary glitch. So, I've joined the club!

Wiley Coyote said...

I just responded to your test post.

Welcome to the club. Your club card and membership packet should arrive within 5 business days.

Welcome aboard!

OTE admin said...

"All of the recommendations Gorman made to alleviate his budget shortfall here were made by Morrison in Washoe County, including the closing of schools, laying off teachers, cutting out middle school sports and the big one - INCREASING class sizes."--The only one that seems to fit is increasing class sizes. NO schools have been closed in Washoe County, and the staff reductions so far would include early separations and the like.

Wiley Coyote said...


I would suggest you read up on the recommnedations made BY Morrison, which are the SAME as Gorman.

Here are Morrison's recommendations:

Wiley Coyote said...

Here's a little blurb on page 15:

Staffing Impact: Lose 463 teachers

Anonymous said...

So what has our board done to get more money from the State leaders? (nothing) Have they fired the lobbyist a few years back? (yes) Have they offered up new funding sources to the County or State? (nope) So no more budget or money issues from CMS until they actually get proactive. Thats a buzz word that can solve problems. Quit bitching and do something now with a new leader their are no more excuses. Simply put Pete never did it , because he was leaving. Nobody else has done it since he left. DO IT !

susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
susan said...

Listen, I LIVED in Nevada for 26 years. A Powerpoint presentation is not policy. The ONLY "layoffs" would be early separation incentives for teachers (which happens every year, by the way, and they expanded it last year) and the release of teachers who were on temporary contract (most if not all of the new hires were on OYO contracts, thus undermining "tenure" protections in the state--Nevada doesn't call it tenure but post-probationary status). There was NO closing of schools, there was never any plan to close schools. My goodness, some of the suburban areas are overcrowded and are on multi-track year-round schedules. I won't dispute the claim Morrison is borrowing from the Gorman playbook, or probably more accurately the Eli Broad playbook.

Wiley Coyote said...


You're still missing the point.

It doesn't matter whether ANY of the bullet points in the presentation were implemented, the fact remains Morrison PROPOSED them!

Gorman did the same thing until the White Knight BOCC swooped in to save the budget day.

In the end, Morrison is nothing more than an educrat made from the same mold most are manufactured from.

Paul R. said...

Ann: Responding to what you actually posted, here are some of the principles from Good to Great, by Jim Collins.

- Level 5 Leadership: Leaders who are humble, and driven to do what is best for the company (rather than for their own gain)
- First Who, Then What: also known as "get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go"
- Confront the Brutal Truth: accept the facts as they are (situation as it is), yet remain optimistic (rather than fatalistic)
- The Flywheel: the additive effect of many small initiatives, which build on each other like compound interest.

Of these, I speculate that the one you are most likely to hear is "get the right people on the bus."

Anonymous said...

Best of the Worst -- that's CMS!

Anonymous said...

Best of the Worst -- that's CMS!

Christine Mast said...

I want to play this one in Bingo:

“In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, we are going to be about every child, every day, for a better tomorrow."

Not only is he still saying "Charlotte-Mecklenburg" instead of CMS, but he's added the catch-phrase at the end, that I'm sure we'll be hearing again and again.

Read more here: