RENO — Washoe County Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison said Thursday he made the “incredibly difficult decision” to leave the Reno area to accept a job as superintendent of schools in Charlotte, N.C., partly because he and his wife have family there.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education confirmed earlier Thursday it offered the position to Morrison, pending formal contract negotiations and approval by the school board expected next week.
Morrison said in a letter to colleagues posted on the Reno Gazette-Journal’s web site Thursday the reason he decided to pursue the job after turning down “other such opportunities, is both family-related and professional.”
“My wife and I have family near Charlotte, and I have a deep respect for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as an educational system,” Morrison said. “This decision has weighed heavy on my heart, but I believe this opportunity is the right one for my family.”
Other finalists for the job were Charlotte schools administrator Ann Clark and Memphis City Schools leader Kriner Cash.
Morrison was named the National Superintendent of the Year in 2012 by the American Association of School Administrators. He began his career in Maryland as a teacher and administrator in Charles and Montgomery counties before taking the Reno job in 2009.
Washoe County school board President Ken Grein told the Gazette-Journal before Thursday’s announcement that if Morrison accepted the new job the board would want to begin a search for a replacement as soon as possible. He said the district’s standards for candidates will be high becaus Reno supe takes top job in Charlotte schools e Morrison “has raised the bar on what the board expects from a superintendent.”
Morrison said in his letter to teachers and administrators that one of the reasons he decided to accept the new job is “because of the foundation we’ve created together in Washoe County School District. “
“Our educational improvement efforts have never been about one person. It is about the 7,400 employees who are all dedicated to “every child, by name and face, to graduation,’” he wrote. “It was an incredibly difficult decision. However, I can say without hesitation the passionate work of educating all children in Washoe County will carry on.”
Morrison said it is important for the local community to give the school board credit for positive changes that have helped the district weather budget cuts and tough economic times.
“Our schools are led by dedicated principals who will continue to push for excellence. Our classrooms are filled with talented teachers who do extraordinary work every day educating our children,” he wrote.
“Thank you for everything you do for our children every day.”