Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) superintendent agrees to resign

July 23, 2019
Clayton Wilcox, who led the district for 2 years, had been suspended with pay days before his resignation.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox has agreed to resign after two years on the job.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Wilcox will resign effective Aug. 2. The school board had suspended Wilcox last week for unspecified reasons.

A draft of a separation agreement released by the district said Wilcox would get no compensation in exchange for his resignation, and that the district would not publicly release information in his personnel file.

Wilcox’s departure leaves the Charlotte district searching for its sixth superintendent in 10 years.

Earnest Winston, the district’s ombudsman, took over as acting superintendent after the board suspended Wilcox. Winston has worked in the district since 2004.

Wilcox took the superintendent's job in July 2017, after a three-month orientation period in which he shadowed former Superintendent Ann Clark. Before joining the district, he had been the superintendent of the Washington County Public Schools, a smaller, rural district in Maryland. Wilcox has also led districts in Pinellas County, Fla., and East Baton Rouge, La., and worked for Scholastic, the educational publishing company.

Wilcox took the Charlotte job with a reputation as an innovator, but came with a history of leaving his two previous roles as superintendent with split reviews. The board gave him a four-year contract, with a salary of $280,000.

Until his suspension Monday, Wilcox and the the board appeared to be moving forward together with plans for the district. The board gave him a unanimous vote of confidence in January, with pay and benefits increases totaling $37,000 a year. It also extended his contract for two years, to 2023, with a new salary of $307,000.

Just six months later, that camaraderie apparently has fizzled. The board twice met in closed session in recent weeks to evaluate the superintendent, first in June and again last week. After a five-hour meeting that was closed to the public, the board suspended Wilcox with pay.

At times, Wilcox struggled to deal with the politics of being the superintendent of a large urban district, some officials said.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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