CMS Unanimously Names Earnest Winston As New Superintendent

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —  The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education has voted unanimously to name Earnest Winston as Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools at a special meeting held Friday morning.

Outgoing superintendent Clayton Wilcox’s last day is Friday, August 2nd.

Winston will be contracted for 3 years with annual compensation of $280,000.  He has been the district’s chief community relations and engagement officer since 2017.

 Earnest Winston

Formerly a journalist, Winston joined CMS in 2004 as an English teacher at Vance High School, where he taught journalism and was an advisor to the school newspaper.

Winston joined the district’s communications department in 2006 and has served in a number of CMS executive leadership roles, including chief of staff from 2011-2017.  Winston’s two children are enrolled in CMS.

“I am humbled and grateful to the Board and the community for the trust placed in me. It is my honor and privilege to serve our community’s students, families, CMS employees and partners,” Winston said. “The district team is preparing to welcome students back for a smooth opening of schools on Aug. 26. We are moving forward together on our commitment to equity through our 2024 strategic plan. Our shared focus is on what matters most – great teaching and learning for every student in every school.”

CMS released the following statement regarding the hiring:

As a Board, we believe that our most fundamental duty is to make decisions that are in the best interests of our community’s students.

 Guided by this belief, the full Board has extended an offer to Acting Superintendent Earnest Winston to lead Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Mr. Winston has accepted the leadership of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as Superintendent effective August 2, 2019.

 Our decision was unanimous. Our vote today is reflective of our faith and belief in Earnest, his experience and his vision for moving forward together. We are thankful for Earnest’s trust in us because we have full trust in him and we believe the community does, too.

 This trust has been earned by Earnest Winston’s strong experience, steady dependability, constant commitment to all children, deep belief in collaboration and a leadership style that puts listening first.

 Superintendent Winston’s knowledge of the district, of this community, and his first-hand experience as a teacher and leader in our schools, equip him perfectly to lead our district.

 We carefully considered the option to conduct a national search for our next Superintendent. We are called at this moment in our district’s history to keep moving forward confidently while providing the surety of experienced leadership. 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.

 We know that we must keep moving forward together because none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. CMS must make good on a real commitment to equity and to the achievement of all of our students. We are confident that we are moving forward with the right work and in the right direction. Right now, our students, their families, our employees and the community must trust that that we are also moving forward from a foundation of steady leadership.

 Earnest Winston is the right leader to provide trusted, steady executive leadership. The CMS senior leadership team, learning community superintendents, principals, teachers and staff in place are talented and committed – they have our full confidence. We know that great things are ahead for our students, their families, our employees and the community in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

 We are thankful for the leadership of Superintendent Winston. We look forward to welcoming students back to school on August 26 and we welcome the support of this community of our students, teachers, principals, schools and staff in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.