CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education considered launching a national search to replace Clayton Wilcox, but opted instead to offer a three-year contract to Earnest Winston to become the next superintendent.
The school board suspended Wilcox on July 15 for undisclosed reasons and accepted his resignation four days later. The school board announced Winston’s promotion on Aug. 2, citing his experience, dependability, commitment to children, collaboration and a “leadership style that puts listening first.”
“We are called at this moment in our district’s history to keep moving forward confidently while providing the surety of experienced leadership,” according to a statement from the board. “In the end, we prioritized a strong, steady guiding light already here in our community, saving all of us valuable time and resources. We believe this decision reflects the community’s desire for stability, for calm guidance and clear focus on what matters most – our students and their teaching and learning.”
Winston is the sixth superintendent to lead CMS during this decade. He’ll make $280,000 annually, the same salary as Wilcox when he was hired two years ago.
Following a journalism career, Winston joined CMS in 2004 as a teacher at Vance High School. He moved to the district’s communications department in 2006 and served as chief of staff from 2011 to 2017. He’s served as community relations director since 2017.
In an interview released by CMS, Winston mentioned his experience as a non-educator as a strength because it brings a different perspective. He also brings the perspective of a parent with two children enrolled in the district.
“What I will want to do is to reassure our families, our students, that CMS continues to move forward uninterrupted,” Winston said during the interview. “We’re preparing for the first day of school on Aug. 26.”