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Community House Principal Named To Lead Ardrey Kell High

Ann Doss Helms

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated when The Charlotte Observer got the tape of David Switzer apologizing for a comment at a staff meeting.

Community House Middle School Principal Jamie Brooks has been named principal of nearby Ardrey Kell High, effective this week.

The job came open after David Switzer was reassigned to central offices amid complaints that he had allowed a culture of racism to flourish at the Ballantyne-area school. 

Credit Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Jamie Brooks

Brooks has been principal at Community House, which is less than a mile from Ardrey Kell, since 2008. Before that she was an assistant principal at Ardrey Kell. She has been with CMS for 26 years.

A statement from CMS says Brooks was chosen after seven "profile sessions" with employees, students and parents to talk about what they wanted in a school leader. 

Debate over Switzer's fate split a community that's intensely involved with its schools. He had led Ardrey Kell, one of North Carolina's largest schools, for 10 years and was popular with many families. Thousands signed petitions to keep him in the job -- but thousands also petitioned for his resignation.

Some students of color said they were not comfortable at the majority-white school, where episodes of students using racial slurs related to sports events had become public in recent years. And in May The Charlotte Observer got a recording of a staff meeting in which Switzer apologized for using the term "colored people." He said he thought he had said "people of color."

In announcing Switzer's lateral move to executive director of Continuous Improvement and Logistics, CMS said Switzer and the district agreed it was time for a change of leadership at Ardrey Kell.

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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.