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Crisis Response Director Position Created For CMS

Police cars are stationed outside of Butler High School after the October 2018 shooting.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools officials are in the process of interviewing candidates for a new Crisis Response Director for the district.

According to the job description, the person hired will develop and implement a plan that all schools will follow in the event of a crisis. They will also be the point person to communicate with first responders, school officials and the general public during an emergency.

In addition, the director will oversee crisis training for schools in terms of identifying threats, assessing situations and determining appropriate responses to a crisis.

The position also calls for the director to make recommendations on how the district should improve its response to threats and actual crises.

School officials are seeking someone who also has experience in counseling, psychology and mental health-related work. The salary range for the position is between $72,000 and $115,000.

CMS officials say the decision to hire a crisis response director was made by the "executive leadership."

In an email, officials said, "The decision was made to expand the role of an existing position to include the new and additional duties. The position prior was mainly a school counselor to support students during crisis and grief."

The creation of the position comes in the months following a fatal shooting at Butler High School.

In a crowded hallway just before classes were to start, 16-year-old student Jatwan Cuffie shot fellow student Bobby McKeithen, also 16, during a fight. McKeithen died shortly afterwards in the hospital. Cuffie was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. 

Parents, including the victim's mother, complained that CMS officials were slow to communicate with them and that chaos reigned inside the school after the shooting.

CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox acknowledged that school and district officials should have done a better job providing parents with information about the tragedy and easing the confusion following the school being placed on lockedown. 

He also admitted that the fatal shooting presented a situation that they were not prepared to handle.

According to the job description, the new crisis response director will take the on-site lead in future emergency situations and will be responsible for communicating with parents and collaborating with police officials, CMS leaders and others as necessary.

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.