Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Began using Opportunity Culture® models in:


Learn more about the Opportunity Culture® initiative in CMS by visiting the district website.


In 2013–14, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Project L.I.F.T. became the first implementation site in Public Impact®’s Opportunity Culture® initiative. Project L.I.F.T. was an innovation zone in Charlotte created to improve student performance and close the achievement gap in several of Charlotte’s lowest-performing schools. Project L.I.F.T ended in 2019. Learn more about Project L.I.F.T. here.

In January 2014, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) announced that it would scale up the Opportunity Culture® initiative across the district, with 17 additional schools implementing the new models in the first year and more schools implementing during each of the following two years. Nearly half of the district’s schools implemented by 2017–18.

CMS Demographics

When CMS began implementing Opportunity Culture® in the 2013–14 school year, the district had 175 schools serving 147,428 students. Of those students, 36 percent were black, 27 percent were white, 27 percent were Hispanic/Latino, and 7 percent were Asian.

Learn More:

In the News:


Videos from Public Impact®

Days in the Life: The Work of a
Successful Multi-Classroom

Follow Ranson MCL Okema Owens Simpson
through several typical days that illustrate the
essentials of the MCL role.

When Teachers Leave Midyear, MCLs Keeps Classes Strong

MCL Molly Whelan and Principal Erica Jordan-Thomas discuss the benefits of the MCL role—especially when midyear turnover leaves a teaching team short.

From Action Plan to Teacher of the Year—in One Year

MCL Stacie Bunn and Kenyatta Davenport, an expanded-impact teacher on Bunn’s team, discuss Davenport’s journey to teaching excellence.

Erin Williams on Being a Multi- Classroom Leader

Erin Williams describes how she uses data to encourage students to track their own growth.

Kristin Cubbage on Being a Multi-Classroom Leader

Kristin Cubbage describes the deep support her role enables her to provide to both teachers and students.

Steven Kennedy on Being a Multi-Classroom Leader

Steven Kennedy describes the support he is able to give new and veteran teachers and how the role has allowed him to stay in education.

Bobby Miles on Being a Multi-Classroom Leader

Multi-classroom leader Bobby Miles explains why his role is “the best of both worlds”.

Erin Burns on Being a Multi-Classroom Leader

Erin Burns describes her role as a multi-classroom leader at West Charlotte High, where she leads a team of biology teachers reaching 500 students.

Amy Sparks on Being a Multi-Classroom Leader

Amy Sparks highlights how even high-achieving schools and students can continue to grow with an Opportunity Culture®.

Ranson and Ashley Park Choose an Opportunity Culture®

Principals at Ashley Park PreK-8 and Ranson IB Middle in Charlotte tell why they chose to create an Opportunity Culture® in their schools.

Recruiting in an Opportunity Culture®

District leaders and principals share thoughts on how an Opportunity Culture® is attracting teachers to previously hard-to-staff schools.

Combining Multi-Classroom Leadership and Subject Specialization

Danielle Bellar describes her role as a multi-classroom leader, leading a team of three subject-specializing teachers for 75 5th-graders in Charlotte.

Opportunity Culture® Roles in CMS

Teachers and principals discuss why they love Opportunity Culture®‘s team-based teacher roles.

Videos from Other Organizations

A Closer Look at Advanced Teaching
Roles in North Carolina

BEST NC video examines how CMS became the
first and largest school district to implement
Advanced Teaching Roles, using Opportunity
Culture models.

West Charlotte Decision Day 2019

After seven years of Project L.I.F.T. and
Opportunity Culture®, West Charlotte High School
students celebrate Decision Day in 2019.

Building Leaders in the Classroom

A video about Project L.I.F.T. and an Opportunity
Culture from the 2014 N.C. Emerging Issues Forum.