Updated 04/12/2012 05:21 PM
CMS superintendent candidates finish interviews
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CHARLOTTE -- The three candidates for superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are finally done with two days of grueling interviews.
The finalists are Dr. Kriner Cash, the superintendent of Memphis city schools in Tennessee, CMS Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark and Dr. Heath Morrison, the superintendent of Washoe County schools in Reno, Nev.
They toured some schools and talked about a number of issues at several forums with community members and the media on Wednesday.
On Thursday, they met with Mecklenburg County leaders.
Clark talked about her three decades of experience with the district.
"I am career educator in this district. I started my career as a bus driver," she said.
If given the job, Clark said she would rally the community behind its students.
"I will pledge to you, there is no status quo with Ann Clark. I will be committed to getting the community proud of this district," said Clark.
Cash spoke to the elected officials about his current relationships with leaders in Memphis.
"I have a good relationship with college presidents," said Cash.
He talked about the importance of building a good relationship with elected officials saying education is key to the success of the community.
"That is the core issue. That is what we do and what we do together," said Cash.
Morrison spoke about his current job dealing with budget cuts.
"My philosophy is we don't talk about why we can't, we talk about how we can," said Morrison.
While he boasted about improving graduation rates, he said it wasn't time to celebrate. "70 percent is better than 56 percent," said Morrison. "But that's three in 10 kids not graduating."
While current CMS board members wouldn't tip their hats on who might get the job, former board members were excited about the options.
"They've all demonstrated they are capable of running Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools," said George Dunlap.
Republican Ken Gjertsen agreed. "They're hitting the right note that 70 percent graduation is not good enough for Charlotte-Mecklenburg," he said.
The big hitch in the day was a fire alarm during the lunch that forced everyone to evacuate and walk down eight flights of steps. It turned out to be a faulty sprinkler.