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Charlotte, NC

Announcements June 2005

ANNOUNCEMENTS from June 7, 2005:
Upcoming at the Forum:
July 12: Harvey Gantt for Foundation for the Carolinas Task Force on CMS Management.
Joyce Waddell announced an Afternoon of Jazz fund-raiser for the Elect Joyce Waddell City Council District 4 committee, for Sunday, June 12 from 4-8 p.m. at The Gold Hill Pavilion, University Dance Academy, 7925 Hwy. 29 Suite 201. Information: 704-549-4777.
Sherry Wilson of Parks & Recreation announced the Minority Golf Tournament on Saturday-Sunday, July 9-10, at Renaissance Golf Course. For registration information call Sherry Wilson at 704-353-1248

Sylvia Grier sent in an announcement that the Economic Development Committee of the Black Political Caucus will meet this Wednesday, June 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Minority Contractors Resources Center, 125 N. Irwin Ave. Topic: "CIAA's Economic Windfall for Charlotte." Guest Presenters: Bill McCullough, McHenry & Associates, Lenny Springs, Leader of CIAA Local Organizing Committee, and Charlotte Coliseum/Cricket Arena/Ovens Auditorium Officials Invited. Meetings are open to the public, strategic input from BPC members only.
Response by Supt. James Pughsley after many comments honoring him on the occasion of his upcoming retirement:

Good morning. I really didn't know what was going to take place this morning but I'm awfully glad that I in fact did show up! You know, you don't refuse an invitation that is extended by Ms. Stevenson, and I surely appreciate her having extended the invitation and my having the opportunity to be here.

I thank all of you very much for taking your time to come this morning and share your thoughts with regards to myself.

This has been a really interesting journey for me, and part of that journey has been here in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. But for me as an educator it started some 42 years ago.

That's when I first finished school at Northern Arizona University and took my first job as an elementary teacher in the Clark County school district in Las Vegas, Nevada. I spent some 27 years in Clark County school district, saw it go from a school district of some 40,000 to today a school district of 270,000. You know, when people talk about consolidation to me, and growth and all those things I don't get excited because, like I said, that was a school district of 270,000, covers 8,000 square miles, borders on three different states. So it's really interesting, the journey as I reflect on all the things, and all the comments that were shared this morning.

She has gone now, but attorney [Daniella] Obiorah, I believe, there, there she is, she mentioned to me when I came up that she is the graduate of Carroll High School in Monroe, Louisiana. Now, I was the first African-American superintendent in Monroe, Louisiana. She graduated in 1986, and I started there in 1990. So it's truly a small, small world.

When I left Monroe I had the opportunity to go to Virginia Beach, and I was in the Tidewater area, obviously, and that's where Dr. [Eric] Smith was.

Now, a lot of people think that Dr. Smith brought me here to Charlotte-Meck and that's not the case. We knew of each other, we knew of each other. And I was actually here in Charlotte prior to his arrival.

I had been offered the superintendency in Virginia Beach, after having served as interim superintendent. And I was was offered the permanent position there, but there was a lady here that I had been chasing � Joanne Pughsley, that's right. Actually I hadn't been chasing her but she was here in Charlotte and I was in Virginia Beach and fortunately we have been together as a husband and wife for some 40 years now.

So I didn't accept the superintendency there, and came here to Charlotte instead.

And when Dr. Smith was appointed the superintendent, I was at home, received a call, he said, 'I'd like to meet with you.' Sure. I wasn't doing anything, quite frankly, wasn't doing anything.

We met at the Holiday Inn on Woodlawn. We sat down and had breakfast together. And he indicated to me that he'd like to make me part of his administration. And I said yes. And that's how it all started. That's how it all started.

Here it is nine years later and I am now getting ready to retire and move on and do some other kinds of things, if you will.

Now, you talk about destiny, talk about vision and all those kinds of things. I'm going to share some interesting things with you, if I may.

I've only had one vision, one vision, and that is: All kids, and I do mean all, receive a proper education, a proper education.

How many of you are aware that, prior to Dr. Smith and my arrival, that there were two sets of goals for students � black and white. One set of goals for white students, and another set of goals for black students. How many of you are actually aware of that?

That's true, that's true. Different goals. Well, that was done away with immediately. That was done away with immediately, so that we had one set of goals for all students, all kids.

Now I'm going to share something that truly is surprising. You know, when you start moving you find all kinds of things that you had forgotten about. Now I'm going to share something with you. You talk about destiny, OK. Destiny. And I wonder why I saved this and now I know why I did.

This is a copy of an application that I made to become the superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg in 1987, 18 years ago [the year Dr. Peter Relic was named superintendent].

Destiny said no at that time. And destiny was right.

But destiny did not forget, and my time was three years ago, three years ago.

And yes, it has been painful at time, but now as I reflect on it, it's been good.

You know, nothing good comes without some degree of pain. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And it has truly been good. Truly been good.

You made reference to Grandmother, the most significant person in my life, my grandmother. And when I say that, I say it knowing that yes, my grandfather was a Buffalo Soldier, and yes, my father was a Tuskegee Airman, and he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, and I take a great deal of pride in that.

But the most significant person in my life was my grandmother, Verna Clark. And interesting enough, she never advocated, pushed, encouraged me to get a higher education. Her goal for me was one thing: be a man. That's all she wanted me to be, just be a man, learn how to take care of yourself, learn how to do for yourself, and learn how to stand up. And that's all I've ever wanted to be. That's all I ever wanted to be.

And you know what gives me the greatest thrill? It's when I go someplace, and little black boys and little black girls know who I am, who I have never seen before, but they know who I am, and they know what I'm about. And their mothers and fathers are there with them, introducing them to me. Now, you know, that didn't happened by design. That happened because somebody feels good about something. And so long as they feel good, I'm all right. I can deal with the pain.

But I have to admit to you: The pain is becoming less and less as the days wear on, less and less. As I was coming to work today, this is the last 'last day' for me as it relates to the closing of schools. But it's not the last day as it relates to what I will be doing with regards to education.

And I will be associated with a national foundation, the Stupski Foundation, out of Mill Valley, California. That's just across the Golden Gate Bridge there from San Francisco. And their sole purpose, their sole purpose, has to do with working with urban school districts to build organizational leadership capacity having to do with student achievement and closing the achievement gap. That's all they do, and they are well financed.

So, I love you, board members, but I'm going to be doing my work without any boards. Those Tuesday night board meetings are over. I got two more, but they're over. It has truly been good, and I have been blessed.

The first community-type meeting I attended was the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club, over at McDonald's Cafeteria, and I remember after that meeting a gentleman pulled me aside and shared some thoughts with me, a gentleman by the name of Jim Richardson.

And I've remembered and appreciated his taking the time to pull me aside and just share some thoughts with me that have served as a rudder for me my nine years here is Charlotte.

And I suspect that he may have pulled you aside at some point in time and shared some thoughts with you, and now you reflect on as being very positive and being very insightful, because he was a very insightful person, and made a significant contribution to this community and to this state.

I truly thank all of you for being here this morning, and again giving of your time and giving of yourselves, and just sharing comments with me, sharing comments with me.

You need to know, though, as one of the speakers indicated, this is really just the beginning.

And if you're not diligent, what has been gained will slip away.

And there have been some significant gains, but they will slip away if you're not on your job.

Don't think that won't happen now. Don't think that for these last three years there haven't been attempts at that. Let me cite an example for you.

We all know that funding has not been in place these last three years from the county. Certainly there's a tremendous possibility that there will be monies available for next year. For these last three years, not so. Let me share with you how that plays out.

We have redirected in three years some $75 million so we could continue the march. But in that process, in that process, I indicated that the classrooms be protected, the school would be protected, and the equity initiatives would be protected.

But all did not feel that way within my own administration. There were opportunities, had they been granted, for some of the equity monies to be redirected as well. I'm just talking straight to you this morning.

There were those efforts, had I not established those expectations, that would have caused equity monies to some degree to be redirected. OK?

You have to stay on the job. You have to stay on the job.

Now there was a price paid in relation to that. And when I say there was a price paid, protecting the classroom and protecting school and equity initiatives, that meant that that $75 million we to go in the infrastructure and tear some of that out.

What I'm saying is, we had to cut a lot of positions out of central office, and now we're paying a price for it in some of the stuff you hear about this year.

And that's why it's so significant what the county commissioners are doing with regards to funding for next year.

Stay on your job, and Charlotte-Meck will continue to move forward, 'cause it's a tremendous system. It has a very solid foundation.

We do have some problems. We do have some challenges. But we also have the expertise.

What we need now is the will to make the difference. That's a resource that you can't go to any store and buy. That's a resource that has to come from within: the will to make a difference. The will to stay the course. And only you, and others such as yourself, can provide that.

Let me thank you once again for being here this morning. And yes, I will be in the community and it will be in a different role but certainly I intend to be very much a part of this community. Thank you very much.


ANNOUNCEMENTS from June 14, 2005:
Upcoming at the Forum:
June 21: Two representatives from Time Out Youth.
June 28: Luke Largess, Ferguson-Stein lawyer, on school assignment.
July 5: NO FORUM.
July 12: Harvey Gantt for Foundation for the Carolinas Task Force on CMS Management.
Thomas Moore announced that he would deliver the sermon at the 11 a.m. service this Sunday, June 19, at Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church, 2929 Selwyn Ave.
Joel Ford, candidate for District 3 City Council, announced a free campaign Gospel Music Fest and Health Fair for Saturday, June 25 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Southside Park at the corner of Remount Road and Toomey Avenue, in conjunction with God's Outreach Ministry, Parks & Recreation, University City Church's Urban Restoration Outreach Ministry, Bethlehem Center and others. Ford said the program would introduce Charlotte Saves, an alternative to check-cashing services.
Neil Carroll of Parks & Recreation announced that the process for naming the new park in Third Ward downtown was about to begin, and that the proposed name was Romare Bearden Park. The name will be reviewed by the parks advisory board, then the Parks & Recreation Commission before going to the Board of County Commissioners, probably in July.
Richard McElrath encouraged people to attend the school board meeting tonight, Tuesday, June 14, at 6 p.m., either to speak on student assignment or to support those who do speak.
Andrea Huff announced that, because Father's Day falls on the third Sunday of June, the Black Political Caucus will hold its June meeting on the fourth Sunday, June 26, at 7 p.m. at Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Blanche Penn announced that there were more than 100 children in the Recreation Center for summer camp this morning, drawn from several recreation center areas.
Laura McClettie announced that the African-American Caucus of the Democratic Party would hold its next meeting this Thursday, June 16, at 7 p.m. at Weeping Willow AME Zion Church, 2220 Milton Rd., and that the Coordinating Committee, "a collaboration of various organizations addressing concerns of this community," will meet tomorrow, Wednesday, June 15 at 1 p.m. at the YMCA, 400 E. Morehead St.
Neil Carroll of Parks & Recreation added to his earlier announcement encouraging people to watch over the next several months for community workshops to discuss design issues for the Third Ward park.
Natheley McElrath announced that she had forms on which people could nominate themselves or others for four awards to be presented on Women's Equality Day, Aug. 27, at a celebration on that day, a Saturday, at Marshall Park at Third and McDowell Streets downtown.
Lucy Bush Carter announced that the Charlotte Culinary School bistro featuring the creative cooking of school students would be held this Thursday, June 16, at 1 p.m. at the school at 2401 Distribution St. "And it's free," said Marvin Carter -- though, if truth is to be told, the school welcomes donations to support the not-for-profit organization that provides training and job placement in the food service industry for people who are chronically unemployed or underemployed.
Sarah Stevenson announced that she had $25 tickets to the June 25 Black Women's Caucus annual Blackberry Brunch, to be held at Simpson-Gillespie United Methodist Church, 3545 Beatties Ford Rd. The group will be honoring about 10 community leaders, including several Forum regulars.
Ranjit Deora of Yoga Health Solutions sent in an announcement of programming available for youth interested in stress and violence reduction and other benefits from yoga. Deora is looking for partners to conduct hour-long sessions three days a week for four weeks for 20 students. For information: 704-277-6049 or [email protected] and www.yogahealthsolutions.com
There was a request that the announcements include the text of the Four-Fold Franciscan Blessing that Steve Johnston recites when called on to open the Forum. Truth to tell, the original has been altered to use the pronoun "us" instead of "you." The text:

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts. Amen.
May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.
May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.
May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
-- A Four-Fold Franciscan Blessing

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ANNOUNCEMENTS from June 28, 2005:
Upcoming at the Forum:
July 5: NO FORUM.
July 12: Harvey Gantt for Foundation for the Carolinas Task Force on CMS Management.
July 19: Library director Charles Brown on ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center.
July 26: Luke Largess, Ferguson-Stein lawyer, on school assignment.
Joel Ford announced that 100 volunteers helped make Saturday's Gospel Music Fest and Health Fair a success at Southside Park. The event attracted 1,500 people, a mobile career cruiser received 250 job applications, more than 125 were saved and 75 people registered to vote. The event was a collaboration of God's Outreach Ministry, Parks & Recreation, University City Church's Urban Restoration Outreach Ministry, Bethlehem Center and others.
Laura McClettie for People United for Education encouraged people to attend Wednesday's school board meeting, where there will be a public hearing on proposed changes in magnet programs, school attendance boundaries and feeder patterns. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Government Center Meeting Chamber.



The Forum welcomes all persons to its meetings beginning at 8 a.m. most Tuesdays of the year
at the West Charlotte Recreation Center, 2222 Kendall Drive, Charlotte, NC
down the hill from West Charlotte High School.