Charlotte-Mecklenburg School’s new superintendent, Dr. Heath Morrison, led a community town hall meeting at Rocky River High School last Thursday to hear from parents, students, and teachers.  It was the first of many community meetings scheduled for the new school year.
Rocky River principal, Brandy Nelson, introduced Morrison to the event.  “On behalf of the students, the community, the faculty, the staff, we’d like to welcome Dr. Morrison to Rocky River.  It’s a special place; we love it very much.  We are thrilled that you’re here today.  Thank you for coming.”  Nelson presented Morrison with orange and brown Rocky River “swag,” including a hat and jacket.
“I am so thrilled to be here this evening and to have the first of my town hall meetings regarding my entry plan…I intend to have many town hall meetings throughout what I hope is a long tenure here as superintendent of Charlotte Mecklenburg, because I sincerely believe that the best way for me to do my job is to be out in the community, in our schools, listening to teachers, listening to our administrators, listening to parents,” said Morrison.  “We are a public education system…we do our job better when we listen to our public.”
The meeting was divided between a one-hour question and answer session with Morrison and an extended small group session to allow everyone to voice concerns and compliments.
Concerns that were brought up included bullying, special education, homeless children, transportation, communication, teacher morale, character training, magnet school lotteries, parent involvement, advanced placement courses, and zero tolerance versus case-by-case policies.
“I think we are a good school district, but we need to be a great school district,” said Morrison.  He referenced the students of the school system when he said, “there are 141,000 reasons we need to be great.”
Community members voiced their appreciation for Morrison’s listening ear.
“I think he’s on the right track,” said one parent. “I like his lead.  I think if the teachers, students, and administrators follow his lead, things can change in Charlotte.”
Future community meetings will be at Harding University High School September 17, Ardrey Kell October 1, Hopewell October 4, Vance October 29, East Mecklenburg November 1, and Myers Park November 15.  The local CMS Employee Town Hall Meeting will be at Butler High School September 8, and is open to CMS employees only.