The new school board will be tasked with hiring a permanent superintendent. Photo: QCity Metro

At an emergency meeting on Friday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board approved a contract with BWP & Associates, an Illionois-based search firm, to find the district’s next superintendent.

“The committee has been hard at work to make sure we not only track the best search firm, that we track the best fit for our board,” search committee chair Summer Nunn said during the meeting. “That is why we unanimously selected BWP and Associates.”

Why it matters: With more than 141,000 students, CMS is the nation’s 17th-largest school district and the second-largest in North Carolina.

In April 2022, the CMS board fired former superintendent Earnest Winston, replacing him with interim superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh, who resigned in December, citing family reasons. Hattabaugh, in turn, gave way to Crystal Hill, the district’s current interim superintendent.

CMS now seeks its seventh superintendent since 2012. 

Nunn said the board chose BWP & Associates to conduct the search from a pool that began with 10 corporate candidates. The board’s search committee narrowed that list to four using an evaluation rubric.

The final four were then interviewed by CMS board members, who pared the list to two, and then to one, Nunn said.

The district will pay BWP & Associates up to $57,000 for consulting services, travel, and job advertisements in its nationwide search – an amount 68% higher than the $34,000 paid in 2016 for the district’s last national search, which led to the hiring of former superintendent Clayton Wilcox

CMS will face in-state competition in its current search. On Thursday, Catty Moore, who has led the Wake County Public School System for the past five years, announced her retirement, effective July 1. The Wake County school district is the state’s largest, with about 158,000 students attending classes daily.

CMS is the nation’s 17th-largest school district, with about 141,000 students attending daily.

In reporting Moore’s retirement, the News & Observer of Raleigh noted that superintendents at large school districts last, on average,  about three years, attributing that number to Wake County’s school board chair, Lindsay Mahaffey.

According to a CMS statement, the district’s contract with BWP & Associates began immediately and will expire on June 30. The board envisions having a new superintendent in place by July 1.

Jalon is a general assignment reporter for QCity Metro. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and an avid sports fan. (

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