‘Anything is possible’: CMS names Crystal Hill as next superintendent

CHARLOTTE — On Friday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board named the district’s new superintendent.

The board selected Crystal Hill, Ph.D. during an emergency meeting Friday morning.

Hill is currently the interim superintendent and has served in that role since the beginning of the year. Before that, she oversaw Title IX work as the district’s chief of staff. Hill also served as a liaison between the board of education and CMS executive-level staff.


In April 2022, the school board voted to fire former Superintendent Earnest Winston citing “serious mishaps” under his leadership. Afterward, Hugh Hattabaugh took over as interim superintendent, but he stepped down at the end of December. That was when Hill stepped in.

Hill began her 25-year career in education as a first-grade teacher in Guilford County. She then served in various roles including assistant principal, principal and as executive director of elementary education and federal programs in Mooresville Graded School District.

Hill has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in instructional technology, both from North Carolina A&T State University.

She also earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Gardner-Webb University.

Making history: ‘Anything is possible’

By just taking the job, Hill is making history.

Channel 9′s Joe Bruno spoke one-on-one with Hill Friday to learn about the challenges she faces and her goals moving forward.

Hill is the first Black woman to get the district’s top job, and she got emotional when she reflected on that fact.

“What it means to me is that anything is possible,” she said.

Hill almost didn’t apply for the job. She told Bruno she waited until 3 a.m. the day applications were due. Her selling point was that she’s here and she’s already doing the work.

“I just jumped in being my authentic self, high expectations, and just executing,” she said. “I’m doing what’s best for students every single day.”

Hill steps into the role at a time the district is under the spotlight for its handling of Title IX cases. She didn’t comment on the November investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, but said it stems from an incident before she worked for the district.

She wants parents to come directly to her office if they feel like Title IX and sexual assault cases aren’t being heard.

“I don’t want our families to feel like they have to go to the media for Title IX -- for any issue -- to get something resolved,” Hill said. “That’s just not great customer service. And I am absolutely committed to making sure that we’re providing the best service for our families.”

She’ll also be tasked with improving student achievement. While at Cabarrus County, she led the district in achieving its highest level of academic performance in history. She said the same thing is possible at CMS.

“Would you say the Board’s goals for academic achievement are realistic?” Bruno asked.

“Oh, yes, absolutely. Absolutely. No doubt. Now it won’t be easy, it won’t happen overnight. But absolutely,” she said.

Bruno spent more than an hour with Hill Friday afternoon. She addressed bills in the General Assembly dealing with transgender athletes and charter schools. She also talked about south Charlotte boundary lines.

>> You can catch her full conversation with Bruno in the video at the top of the page.

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