Updated 4:30 p.m.. with cost details:
If the new superintendent wants to take a page from the Pete Gorman leadership book, he or she will literally be able to do so.
CMS has quietly released "Within Reach: Leadership Lessons in School Reform from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools," focusing on the Gorman years. It's co-authored by Tim Quinn and Michelle Keith, who helped create the Broad Superintendents Academy that trained Gorman, with the former superintendent listed as a contributor. The book costs $13.50, and proceeds will go to the CMS Foundation.
"We have not witnessed a sustained reform story any more successful than that of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools from 2006-2011," the introduction says. "As Dr. Peter Gorman assumed the district superintendency in July 2006, the 'stars were aligned' for significant strides in district transformation and subsequent leaps in student achievement."
In his forward, Gorman writes that he was "in the right place at the right time" to experience "the most outstanding professional experience an educational leader could have."
From the samples available on Amazon, the tone is pretty much what you'd expect from a leadership guide: Upbeat and a bit dry. My copy hasn't arrived yet, but I'm guessing this won't be a candid tale of Gorman's encounters with the city's politicians, pundits and activists, nor will it offer details about challenges that ranged from a gay penguin book-ban controversy to a teacher caught shooting heroin in a classroom. People who see Gorman in a less rosy light, thanks to such things as school closings, teacher layoffs and a controversial rollout of performance pay, may take issue with the official view of the Gorman era.
County Commissioner Bill James and others quickly began raising questions about whether CMS labor or money was spent on the publication. Tahira Stalberte with the public information office says all costs were covered by a grant Gorman received from the C.D. Spangler Foundation. That includes $57,778 to the authors, $1,740 to the CMS print shop for layout and design and about $30 to the self-publishing site that created 100 copies of the book. So far, Stalberte says, the CMS Foundation has gotten about $25 from sales.