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'A man of high integrity' | CMS welcomes interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh back on campus Monday

He rejoins the district at a critical time when academic performance and low tests scores are a big concern.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district saw a familiar face back on campus Monday.

Hugh Hattabaugh started his career with CMS back in 2007 and served as interim superintendent for the district in the 2011-12 school year.

The school board of education voted to have him step in for the role during an emergency meeting on April 19.

RELATED: CMS fires Superintendent Earnest Winston

"He is a man of high integrity," board member Rhonda Cheek said during the meeting. "He is a man who understands organizational leadership and the operation of a school district.” 

Hattabaugh took over for now-former superintendent Earnest Winston who was fired earlier this month for low job performance.

Hattabaugh rejoined the district at a critical time when academic performance and low tests scores are a big concern.

RELATED: The firing of the CMS superintendent comes at critical budget negotiations

In a statement, Hattabaugh said in part, “We will continue to focus on increased academic achievement for all students, to do the hard work to close the achievement gaps, and finally to ensure our graduates are college and career ready.”

Meanwhile, the district will look for a permanent replacement, the sixth one in the past decade, which brings up another concern.

“To have leadership turn over every two to three years means we really don’t have the opportunity to see what their vision or plan come to full fruition so that we can have data on what is and what the vision projected will be,” Bethany Wherry, a former educator for CMS, said. 

Wherry is currently on leave as she obtains her master's in education leadership.

The national candidate search is underway.

“Whoever we have coming in next. ... it would be excellent if we could keep them for at least five years,” Wherry said.

RELATED: The CMS Board has given itself no more than a year to find a permanent superintendent to lead the district. Here's how the search could unfold

In the meantime, Hattabaugh will hold the position until the end of June 2023.

During his time, the board will pay him $265,000. It will also pay Winston severance pay for the next two years, which totals just over $500,000.

Contact Jesse Pierre at jpierrepet@wcnc.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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