CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The new superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools says he wishes he would have had more input with the student assignment conversations.
"I would have liked to probably engage with folks," Dr. Clayton Wilcox said Wednesday afternoon in a one-on-one interview with NBC Charlotte's Tanya Mendis.
Wilcox says, while he has only officially been on the job since July 1, he has been in Charlotte since March 10. During that time, he was able to "meet with people, and be thoughtful" with his approach.
He also had the chance to watch the student assignment controversy and conversations play out firsthand.
"There was some frustration because you wanted to address people because while [former superintendent Ann Clark] has a good and gracious style, I have a different style," Wilcox says.
There were many in the community and some in leadership positions who felt the discussions on student assignment should be tabled until Wilcox took over, rather than giving an outgoing superintendent control over such a broad-reaching, long-lasting decision.
Wilcox says he was able to be part of some of the conversations.
"The assumption really there is that I couldn't offer my thoughts," he said. "I did talk to Ann behind the scenes a little bit but I was reluctant to really offer a significant change because, quite honestly, I didn't know the community like Superintendent Clark did."
Wilcox said he has a lot of faith in the plan that was put forth, and the team assembled to help its implementation.
He is eager to watch the student assignment plan progress and is open to modifications he said.
"We're gonna implement that plan with a great deal of fidelity but also a great deal of thought," Wilcox said. "We're going to start with meet with people, and where we need to make small tweaks to the plan we will make those small tweaks to better accommodate our families."
As two examples of areas that could be changed, Wilcox pointed to possibly streamlining the bus routes, and making sure that magnet schools stick to their missions.
"That's not to suggest we're gonna wholesale change even parts of it," Wilcox said. "What it is to say is sometimes you only know what you know when you do things. A school system that's kinda stuck in its ways is a school system that's not really ready for the 21st century."
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