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Lawyer George Battle Will Leave CMS For UNC Chapel Hill


George Battle III, the high-profile attorney for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, will leave the district at year's end to work for UNC Chapel Hill, the district announced Monday.

Battle has been CMS general counsel since 2010, longer than anyone else in the district's history. At UNC he'll become vice chancellor of institutional integrity and risk management, a new position.

Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said the new job consolidates roles from several areas. Guskiewicz said Battle's work will include overseeing a comprehensive approach to campus safety and "safeguarding academic research and educational activities from the threat of improper influence by foreign governments and outside entities."

While lawyers often work behind the scenes, Battle stepped into two highly public roles in 2014. He ran for Congress that year, and he conducted an investigation into reports of wrongdoing by then-Superintendent Heath Morrison.

Battle's report, which was leaked to reporters, concluded that the board had grounds to fire Morrison. He concluded that Morrison had misled the school board about construction costs at a school on the UNC Charlote campus and mistreated at least one employee. Morrison resigned soon afterward.

Battle is the son of George Battle Jr., who chaired the CMS board in the early 1990s. George Battle III graduated from West Charlotte High in 1991 and got his undergraduate and law degrees from UNC Chapel Hill.

He'll continue to work for CMS through Jan. 3. 

In a statement provided by CMS, school board Chair Mary McCray noted that the board has "relied heavily" on Battle's guidance for almost a decade.

"He has guided us through some very tough times with skill and grace," McCray said. "But we wish him well in this new opportunity and we are confident that our state university system will benefit from his passion and his talent for the law and for education."

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.