Ann Doss Helms

Education Reporter

Ann Doss Helms covers education for WFAE. She was a reporter for The Charlotte Observer for 32 years, including 16 years on the education beat. She has repeatedly won first place in education reporting from the North Carolina Press Association and won the 2015 Associated Press Senator Sam Open Government Award for reporting on charter school salaries.

She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master's in liberal arts from Winthrop University.

Ways to Connect

Freedom School Partners

In the past 20 years, Mary Nell McPherson has built Charlotte’s Freedom School Partners into a local institution with a national reputation.


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board abolished the district's graduation project Tuesday. But district leaders say they won’t stop pushing students to learn research and presentation skills. 


Elyse Dashew was unanimously elected to chair the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Tuesday, the first new chairperson since Mary McCray was first elected in 2012.

A state hearing officer ruled Monday that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction violated the law and jeopardized the integrity of the state procurement process in selecting Istation software to test the reading skills of the state’s youngest students. 

Eastover Elementary School

The former operator of a Charlotte after-school program was sentenced to five to eight years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to three counts of felony indecent liberties with a child.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' graduation project is almost certain to come to an end Tuesday, though it may be reborn in a new form.


On Tuesday, Mary McCray, a retired teacher, will hand off the gavel after seven years as chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board.


Community House Middle School Principal Jamie Brooks has become something of a cybersleuth — a necessity in a digital world where adults with bad intentions can mingle freely with teens with bad judgment.

Her latest venture yielded a chilling warning for parents of adolescents.

Dan Mahony
Winthrop University

Winthrop University President Dan Mahony will leave the Rock Hill, South Carolina, school March 1 to become president of the Southern Illinois University System, Winthrop officials announced Tuesday.

Leading on Opportunity

Stephanie Cooper-Lewter, who was tapped in 2018 to lead Charlotte's quest to shed it's "50th of 50" label for lack of economic opportunity, will leave to lead another group promoting financial stability.


Correction: An earlier version of this article included lab schools, which are affiliated with universities rather than school districts, in the charter school tally.  

It’s becoming a familiar story: North Carolina’s charter school enrollment keeps growing, while many school districts lose students. 

WBTV Facebook post
WBTV / Facebook

Last week a Charlotte judge issued an order temporarily blocking WBTV from airing a story. It was dissolved less than 24 hours later, with little real-life impact. 

But the constitutional principle at stake was huge.


John LeGrand is leaving Butler High School in Matthews after five years as principal, moving into a job overseeing 29 schools in center city Charlotte.

Teachers at Oaklawn Language Academy near uptown Charlotte protest before school Wednesday morning
Michael Falero / WFAE

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' 9,000 teachers will get raises averaging 3%, based on a Friday school board vote that taps state money for experience-based hikes and county money to boost the local supplement.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is preparing to drop its required graduation project after state lawmakers mandated that they pay up to $75 reimbursement for low-income students.

The change was part of a bill that passed this summer to reduce standardized testing.


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will soon have a new Office of Compliance and Transparency — even though district officials don’t yet know the cost of the office and can’t describe exactly how it will operate.


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board voted unanimously Tuesday to promote Deputy General Counsel André Mayes to the district's top legal job.

Elisa Mendez / Reedy Creek Elementary

Twelve weeks into the school year and still without a raise, teachers plan to picket outside some North Carolina schools Wednesday. 

They're not talking about walk-outs or strikes, but a less disruptive type of demonstration called "walk-ins."


Hidden Valley Elementary School serves a small northeast Charlotte neighborhood just off Interstate 85. But every morning’s car line includes taxis and shuttles bringing children from much farther away.

LizMarie_AK / Flickr/

Despite extensive government programs to help students who are homeless or otherwise in need, there are always gaps.