On April 19, 2022 the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board of Education voted in a 7-2 decision to terminate Superintendent Earnest Winston’s contract. Earnest was on the job for less than 3 years. He has been on the hot seat for months.
The decision was made during a 12:30 p.m. emergency meeting. The school board cited the reason for Earnest being fired included an outside investigation by a law firm regarding the Title IX response at Hawthorne Academy to sexual assault allegations; also questions in judgement related to media statements about Title IX issues.
Some of the other concerns the school board had in firing Earnest included a delay in a plan to improve student performance, Earnest’s decision making ability, and the slow implementation of safety measures.
The school board terminated Earnest's contract via a convenience clause, and thus he will be paid more than $576,000 over two years by Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
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Earnest released this statement:
“My intention as a leader has always been to lead with integrity, compassion and gratitude. COVID-19 has forced us to prioritize what is most important.
Grades, test results, and academic performance is a one dimensional view of what it means to educate children who have survived a pandemic in the 21st century. Our children’s mental health and well being should be the priority.
So, I end my service as superintendent the way I began it -- centering student needs.”
In the mean time, the school board named Hugh Hattabaugh as the interim superintendent of CMS. But, Scott McCully has been named as acting superintendent until Hugh begins work in late April 2022.