Monday, June 27, 2011

Keith Hurley is latest to join CMS board race

Keith Hurley, a mortgage lender and CMS dad who comes from a family of educators,  says he's joining the race for an at-large seat on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board.

Hurley,  an unaffiliated voter,  has never run for office.  He got a taste of activism last summer,  when he noticed the grass growing out of control at Beverly Woods Elementary,  where his three kids go to school.  He called public officials and the media,  but also organized parents to help spruce up the grounds.

He writes frequent letters to the Observer forum,  most taking city and county officials to task for wasting money.  But when he talks about CMS, it's not budget-cutting but stability he focuses on.  Teachers,  parents and the rest of the community are weary of constant flux,  he says.  As the board begins a superintendent search,  he hopes members will "look internally,  hard,  for someone who's not going to run every four or five years."  He says departing Superintendent Peter Gorman did some things well,  but "I truly believe he checked out eight, 10, 12 months ago."

Hurley says he's "a firm believer in the neighborhood schools" with magnets as an alternative, thinks closing schools was a mistake and hasn't made his mind up about teacher performance pay. Although his background is in banking, his parents, brother and sister are teachers and he says he hopes to revive teacher morale.

Hurley,  45,  works for BB&T,  runs,  coaches youth sports and volunteers.  He jokes that a countywide campaign will be "the triathlon I've never done,"  but believes he can make it all work:  "I juggle things a lot." 

Filing starts Friday and runs through July 15. We're posting campaign web links in the rail to the right of this blog as we get them, and check blog archives for reports on other candidates who have announced so far.

For the next stretch of this summer, Eric Frazier will be taking over as your correspondent while I delve into some project reporting. I promise that's not a euphemism for "fired," "in rehab" or "Peter Gorman's taking me with him to News Corp." It's just a long-awaited chance to break off from the daily grind and go a little deeper. We'll see how long it takes me to start twitching when I don't have daily blogs or bylines.

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