Former Pinellas schools superintendent Clayton Wilcox ousted from N.C. post

His was the second unexpected departure of a former Bay area superintendent in a week.
Clayton Wilcox was superintendent of Pinellas County schools from 2004-8. [Twitter]
Clayton Wilcox was superintendent of Pinellas County schools from 2004-8. [Twitter]
Published July 19, 2019

What a busy week for former Tampa Bay area superintendents.

On Friday, former Pinellas County schools leader Clayton Wilcox — who had been suspended by his School Board on Monday — resigned his post as superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., school district, effective Aug. 2.

He won’t be paid anything extra for his departure, which remained not fully explained.

Wilcox took the helm of North Carolina’s second-largest school system in 2017, bringing with him a reputation as a change agent but also as a person sometimes viewed as pushy and arrogant. He left the Pinellas district in 2008 with three years left on his contract, amid mixed reviews for his work.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Wilcox started off strong in his latest post, but ran into political troubles:

"Until his suspension Monday, Wilcox and the CMS board appeared to moving forward together with ambitious plans for the district, including a push for equity in student outcomes. The board gave him a unanimous vote of confidence in January, with pay and benefits increases totaling $37,000 a year. It also extended his contract for two years, to 2023, with a new salary of $307,000.

“Just six months later, that camaraderie apparently has fizzled. The board twice met in closed session in recent weeks to evaluate the superintendent, first in June and again last week. After a five-hour meeting that was closed to the public due to personnel privacy reasons, the board suspended Wilcox with pay.”

Read the full report here.

WSOC-TV reported that Wilcox’s suspension came amid violations of state law and district policies. Read more here.

Wilcox was not the only high-profile former Bay superintendent to make a major move this week.

On Monday, MaryEllen Elia — who served a decade as Hillsborough County’s leader — unexpectedly announced her resignation as New York State education commissioner, the job she took four years ago after leaving Tampa.

According to Newsday, Elia stunned her board with her plan, which included going to work for an unnamed national education firm.

One member of the Board of Regents told the paper that Elia had some differences of opinion with the board in recent months, but that she was not forced from her post. She was the first woman to hold the job.

Read the full report here.