Charlotte-Mecklenburg is latest big district to fill top slot with leader of color

Several large school systems have chosen leaders of color as their new superintendents in recent weeks.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools promoted a first-timer from within to choose its next superintendent, promoting its interim leader, Crystal Hill, to its top leadership post. She is the district’s first Black, female leader, according to The Charlotte Observer. 

Crystal Hill (Photo: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools)
Crystal Hill (Photo: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools)

Hill, who previously served as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ chief of staff, replaces former superintendent Earnest Winston, who was fired in April 2022. In that role, Hill oversaw the Office of Strategy Management and Title IX and managed the superintendent’s cabinet in North Carolina’s second-largest district.

The school board was not unanimous in its decision, voting 6-3 to make Hill the permanent superintendent. “It opens up an opportunity for me to serve in ways that I’ve not been able to serve before,” Hill told The Charlotte Observer. “I’m just grateful to those who have gone before me who have been the first and charted the path. I just hope that I can reflect and be a good role model for our students so they can look at me and say wow, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’”

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Hill will earn a base salary of $300,000 annually in a contract that runs until June 30, 2027, The Charlotte Observer noted.

Hill was the chief academic officer for Cabarrus County Schools, another North Carolina district, before joining Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She started her career as a teacher in Guilford County Schools, also in North Carolina, and has also been a principal, assistant principal, personnel director and executive director of elementary education.

Like many superintendents both new and experienced, the three big challenges Hill faces are raising academic performance, recruiting quality teachers and improving school safety, according to The Charlotte Observer.

New faces in other high-profile posts

New superintendents
New leaders: Myriam Yarbrough (Baltimore County Public Schools), Angela Chapman (Columbus City Schools), and Ian Roberts(Des Moines Public Schools).

Three more leaders of color are stepping into the top role in three other big districts. Those new hires include Myriam Yarbrough in Baltimore County Public Schools, Angela Chapman in Columbus City Schools and Ian Roberts in Des Moines Public Schools. Like Hill in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Yarborough and Chapam are both first-time superintendents who were hired from within.


Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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