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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Wilcox to resign

The Board of Education voted 9-0 in favor of a separating with Wilcox at Friday's meeting.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox will resign from his job after being suspended last week, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education announced Friday.

The Board of Education voted 9-0 in favor of a separation agreement with Wilcox Friday morning. His resignation is effective August 2. No money will be paid to Wilcox as part of the agreement. He will not receive medical benefits after he resigns.

Wilcox was suspended by the district Monday following a closed-door meeting with the board last week. CMS announced Ombudsman Earnest Winston would serve as the interim superintendent. The reason for Wilcox's suspension remains unknown. 

Winston put out a letter to staff, parents, and students, which reads in part, “We are in a time of leadership transition our school district, but our focus on students remains clear because they are what matter most.”

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education went into a closed-door executive session around 9:15 a.m. to determine Wilcox's future with the district. They returned to open session around 10:45 a.m. to announce his resignation.

Wilcox was not present for Friday's meeting.

RELATED: Charlotte schools superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox suspended

Employment attorney Chris Strianese told NBC Charlotte if Dr. Wilcox resigns, or the school board fires him for just cause, the contract would not result in any significant compensation.

Wilcox, whose salary was $280,000 at the start of the year, just received a raise effective at the beginning of July.

Under Wilcox's supervision, CMS rolled out new security measures to protect students in the wake of a deadly shooting at Butler High School last November. Those changes included metal detecting wands and bag searches at random schools. Other upgrades were keyless entry systems, panic buttons for all 9,000 teachers and camera upgrades. Wilcox maintained it would be difficult to get hundreds or thousands of students through metal detectors in a school lobby.

Dr. Wilcox began his role as CMS superintendent in July 2017, replacing Ann Clark. Wilcox joined CMS after being the superintendent of Washington County Schools in Maryland. Prior to that, he also served the same role in Pinellas County, Florida and East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Since Hugh Hattabaugh began serving as interim superintendent in 2011, Earnest becomes the fifth person to serve in that capacity in 8 years.

On Friday afternoon, Winston issued a statement to students, families, staff, and community members:

We are in a time of leadership transition in our school district, but our focus on students remains clear because they are what matter most.

As your Acting Superintendent, I am committed to providing stability, to steady leadership and to making sure our work in CMS continues without interruption.

I have served our school district for 15 years...as a teacher in the classroom, an administrator, as Chief of Staff and most recently as Chief Community Relations and Engagement Officer.

But my most important job in CMS is being a parent. My expectations are the same as yours and together we will keep moving forward to meet those expectations.

How will we move forward together?

We will teach and learn with high expectations and a challenging curriculum. We will remain committed to providing equity for all students. We will graduate the class of 2020 with diplomas that are keys to real opportunities...that’s how we move forward.

We will do this work with our talented teachers, outstanding support staff and dedicated principals, but also with our volunteers, community and corporate partners and faith-based organizations...that’s how we move forward.

 CMS will welcome students back in August with smiles…with clean, safe schools…with more supports for students than ever…with well-prepared teachers, classrooms and staff…with confidence and with clarity that our students matter most…that’s how we move forward.

 I am excited to continue to work with you in my new role. Stay in touch with us at wearecms.com or on social media for updates.

During this time of transition, thank you for your support of all of our 147,000 students, our 19,000 employees and each other across our Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools community.

Together, we will keep moving forward.

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