RENO, NV - Washoe County Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison could be headed to a job in North Carolina.
Washoe County School District has confirmed that Morrison is one of three finalists for the superintendent position of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, NC.
Morrison has been superintendent of Washoe County Schools since 2009, and he was recently named national superintendent of the year.
WCSD currently has around 64,000 students. If Morrison gets the CMS position, he'll be responsible for more than double that amount.
Morrison and the two other candidates will go through a series of interviews with CMS staff and the public starting Wednesday.
Washoe County has released the following statement:
“As the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees, we understand the situation regarding the search for a new superintendent for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Superintendent Heath Morrison’s involvement in that process. We know that Heath has been approached for several years by other school districts about superintendent positions. Despite offers that would have enticed others to leave, Heath decided to stay and serve Washoe County students. We greatly appreciate his openness with and dedication to not only the Board of Trustees but the entire community. We know that Heath’s involvement in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg search process is family-related, and we understand the need to explore the opportunity. We hope that Heath, as he has done during the last several years, will decide to continue his work with the Washoe County School District. We support Heath and whatever decision he makes.”
Heath Morrison released this statement:
“I love Washoe County and the Washoe County School District. My family and I have been welcomed into this wonderful community and treated like family from the moment we arrived. As a parent, I know my children are receiving a first-class education here.
Along with our great teachers, administrators, staff, and Board of Trustees, our community has embraced our strategic plan, Envision WCSD 2015 – Investing In Our Future, and our new direction to create better schools to serve our children. Together we have committed to „Every Child, by Name and Face, to Graduation.‟
Through the dedication of our educators and our community, we have seen extraordinary progress at schools across Washoe County. Our students are learning more – for two consecutive years, our students have earned higher scores on their state exams, and the graduation rate has improved. The results in our most challenging courses clearly show more students are graduating better prepared for college and highly skilled careers. We are seeing greater parent and community engagement through the Parent University and the Community Compact. Much more remains to be done to continue to make our schools as great as we all want them to be, but this entire community should be proud of the progress that has helped more children reach their potential. I have been humbled by the great confidence shown in me by this community and our outstanding Board of Trustees, and I have worked hard every day to honor that confidence.
During the past couple of years I have been honored to have been approached a number of times by school district leaders from around the nation who asked me to consider leaving Washoe County to come and lead their schools. When I have been approached, I have considered the opportunity, spoken with my family, and always said, “No, thank you.”
Now, I have been approached about being a candidate for superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina. At this point, I am listening to what the community in Charlotte has to say, talking about my vision for public education, and consenting to be involved in a public process that will lead to a decision by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education on its appointment of a new superintendent. I have not been offered the superintendent‟s job in Charlotte, and I have not decided to leave Washoe County School District.
On Wednesday and Thursday, April 11 and 12, I expect to be in Charlotte and involved in a public process in which a group of final candidates and I will be interviewed by the community and the school board. I will listen to what they have to say, and I will talk with the community about my vision for a great system of schools. I also will talk with great pride about the work we have done together here in the Washoe County School District.
The reasons that I have said “yes” to being considered in Charlotte when I have told other school districts “no” are both professional and personal. In my professional career in Montgomery County, Maryland, and Washoe County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg has always been a district with which we have compared ourselves in performance. I have high regard for their education system and the work they are doing to educate all of their children. Also, there are personal reasons for my consideration. As I‟ve said, my family and I love Northern Nevada and would be very happy to be here the rest of my career, however we continue to have strong personal and family ties just a short distance from Charlotte.
I believe this public process in Charlotte will be a relatively short one. In the end, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community will make a decision that is best for their school district, and I will make a decision based on what I think is best for my family and my responsibilities in Washoe County School District.
Regardless of what decision is made in the end, nothing can ever take away the special place that Washoe County holds in my family‟s hearts. It is an outstanding community, and I am proud to be a part of it.
I will keep the Washoe County community updated on the process in Charlotte, and I promise that the good work of educating our children will continue without pause.”