Aug. 9, 2022
Will he be an inside hardball player, helping shake things up at CMS by asking questions and pressing for change to improve educational outcomes for children? Will he be a pitchman with a warm, empathetic air adept at bringing warring public parties together? Will he join the legions of accomplished executives, paid and volunteer, who end their time in CMS with lots of bruises but little legacy?
Raki McGregor is three weeks into an 18-month journey. He is one of a number of business executives, some already named and some not yet identified, who will pursue with CMS a 2014 vision by the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council that its member companies and executives can improve not just CMS but the community’s broader education, workforce development, health and community engagement structures for the benefit of all residents. It’s an expansive agenda, but one that CMS has, according to McGregor, narrowed to seven “focus areas” where it wants its new executives in residence to reshape district policy:
- Retention and recruitment of teachers, administrators, and support staff.
- Increased school safety.
- Improved access to physical and mental health services.
- Effective and sustainable tutoring programs.
- Extensive, needs-based school partnerships.
- Effective community reporting of COVID-19 federal dollars.
- Improved process management.
With two current school board members, a board candidate and a former board chairperson in the room, the discussion clarified the depth of the partnership business leaders have – once again – tried to create with what McGregor termed the nation’ 17th largest school system. The cautious responses McGregor offered to questions and comments, some during the session and some only after the cameras were safely off, give only passing hints of possible success from the venture. McGregor promised to return later with an update on the effort.
At the minimum, the session offered a business exec relatively new to the hurly-burly of public education policy a baptism by fire, and the public a glimpse into the soul of a man shaped by his own education struggles, his determination to overcome early failures, and his knack for walking through doors opened for him by those who believed in him.
Below is the video from this morning’s session. The slides from McGregor’s presentation are posted below the video, and may be downloaded as a PDF here.