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Ann Clark Named New Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Ann Blakeney Clark, the deputy superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools who has been filling in as superintendent since Heath Morrison resigned in November, has been named superintendent through July 2016.

The board voted 6-1 to appoint Clark to the position at its meeting on Tuesday, according to the district.

The district said the board will use the time to conduct a "comprehensive" search for a permanent replacement.  

Clark, who was a finalist for the same job in 2012 when Morrison was chosen, has asked not to be considered for the permanent position. Clark was also a finalist for a superintendent job in Wake County in 2013.

She was apparently set to retire from the district of 145,363 students when Morrison left last year. The departure prompted her to delay retirement, according to the district.

"I care too much about CMS to leave during such a critical time of leadership transition," she said.

Morrison resigned abruptly in November saying that he planned to care for his sick mother. But his resignation, according to the Charlotte Observer, came days after a report by the school district's general counsel that included allegations that Morrison had misrepresented the cost of a building project to the board and had created a "culture of fear" among his staff. The report recommended Morrison's termination.

Clark started as a teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg in 1983 and served over the years as a principal in elementary, middle, and high schools before becoming an administrator.

"Teaching every child effectively is the responsibility and the privilege of public education," Clark said in a press release. "It is my honor and privilege to serve CMS as superintendent and I look forward to working together with our Board of Education, our staff, our families and our community as we prepare every CMS student to graduate ready for college and career success."

Mary McCray, the chairperson of the board of education, praised Clark for putting off her retirement.

"Ann is a strong CMS and public-education advocate and I am excited about the leadership she will provide over the next year and a half," McCray said. "We are making great strides as a district and she brings the stability we need to maintain our momentum."

Clark will be paid a base salary of $262,000 as superintendent. She will also receive an additional $4,971 for the responsibilities she took on from November through January after Morrison's resignation.

With Clark at the helm, the board is moving forward with the superintendent search. It plans to call a special meeting on Feb. 19 to discuss the search process; meet in March and April to refine the criteria; and conduct and conclude the search between May of this year and April 2016. 

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