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.

Ann Doss Helms / WFAE

Families zoned for Elizabeth Lane Elementary School made their cases in front of the school board Tuesday for why their neighborhoods should not be split off to ease crowding. 

CMS budget packet
Ann Doss Helms / WFAE

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board approved a 2019-20 budget Tuesday that includes teacher raises averaging 3%. The vote came more than halfway through the fiscal year, delayed by the deadlock between the state’s Democratic governor and Republican-led General Assembly.

Up to 180 students could be reassigned from Elizabeth Lane Elementary School to Lansdowne Elementary. That’s according to a plan that’s up for a public hearing at Tuesday's school board meeting.


Eight years ago, a dramatic symbol of Charlotte’s quest to fight homelessness opened. It was called Moore Place, an apartment building that provided homes for 85 people who had spent years on the street.

As a new decade dawns, plans are afoot to try it again in a new site. Looking back at the victories, setbacks and lingering challenges provides a hint at the future.

Lisa Worf / WFAE file photo

Just over half of Mecklenburg County's 4-year-olds are now enrolled in free public prekindergarten, according to a report presented Wednesday at a joint meeting of the county commissioners and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board.


Mecklenburg County commissioners asked pointed questions Wednesday about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' purchase of a panic-alarm system that doesn't work. But in a joint meeting with the school board and Superintendent Earnest Winston, they got little more than what Winston disclosed in a Jan. 10 news conference.


How do you organize a 40-member committee with a charge so broad and daunting that it’s stumped experts for decades?


More than 1,500 people gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center Monday morning to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and talk about how his mission should continue today.


Room 201 at East Mecklenburg High School has a bed, a kitchenette, a washer and a dryer. It’s designed to feel like a studio apartment -- and to help a group of students prepare for life after high school. 


A panic alarm system that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools had touted as a way to make schools safer doesn’t work, Superintendent Earnest Winston said Friday.

Ann Doss Helms / WFAE

Leaders of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are looking at easing up a bit on a policy that demands automatic firing for drug and alcohol offenses. 


A Myers Park High School senior’s quest to make Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools sex education more relevant to teens won applause from school board members Thursday.  But those board members were told they were powerless to make the change. 

Phil Roeder / Flickr/

North Carolina’s charter schools are seeing troubling trends in academic performance, even as their popularity grows.

@neonbrand / Unsplash

Mecklenburg County's charter school enrollment grew to 21,028 this year, an even bigger increase than Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools budgeted for.


Whenever the spotlight turns to struggling schools and failing students, there’s another question that bubbles up: How well are America’s teacher preparation programs doing their job?

Last summer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools rolled out a new look and a new website. Over winter break, after spending more than $200,000 on the new site, CMS pulled the plug, saying people didn’t like it. 

David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte-based Duke Energy will have to excavate nearly 80 million tons of coal ash from six North Carolina sites — including Allen Steam Station in Belmont — as part of a settlement between the company, the state and several community groups.

A Wake County judge sided with state Superintendent Mark Johnson Monday in a legal battle over how to test North Carolina’s youngest readers.


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.

Freedom School Partners

Freedom School Partners announced Thursday that Glenda Bernhardt has been named CEO and Executive Director of the organization. Bernhardt most recently served as exective director of Temple Israel in Charlotte.