Maurice “Mo” Green – Guilford County Schools’ put learning with Tech first


Innovative.” That’s the word Superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green frequently uses to describe Guilford County Schools.

That was true, he said, “even before I got here, and certainly we’ve tried to build on that.”
He rattled off a list of the district’s innovative schools, including the nine early/middle colleges, which offer students early exposure to college campuses.

There also is a district-wide focus on service learning as well as academics, he said. That effort paid off with the school system being named a National District of Character in 2013.

“What comes along with that is certainly a very, very strong focus on academic achievement. Without question,” Green said.

With more than 72,500 students, Guilford County Schools is the third-largest district in the state.
The Triad is also home to dozens of private schools and a strong homeschooling community.

More than 3,000 students are enrolled in public charter schools across the area.

But some parents and Triad residents say they were drawn to the local public schools because of their diversity and reputation.

Connie Stone taught in Asheboro schools for nine years before she and her husband moved to Greensboro, where she started teaching at Hairston Middle School for the 2012-13 school year.
“People get the wrong idea sometimes about some of the schools in Guilford County,” said Stone, who teaches eighth-grade science at Hairston. That was true of some things she was told about Hairston before working there, Stone said.

Stone said she found supportive administrators and teachers at the school. The students rise to the level of expectations set for them, she said.

“I think every school and every student can have the tendency to do everything we put forth for them,” she said.

“Most of us have to be highly qualified in the content area we teach. We have to have ongoing professional development in literacy, in technology. We’re always learning. So we’re not finished learning, therefore we can expect our kids to continue learning.”

Families would appreciate all that’s done for the students, Stone said.

She pointed to the end-of-the-year picnic, which included a disc jockey, face painting, balloon artist, a catered truck from Cook-Out and other activities.

At the eighth-grade graduation, parents packed the auditorium, she said. And the dean of students gave a speech that roused the crowd.

“I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It was a celebration for what our kids have done,” Stone said. “You don’t find that everywhere, which is why I think parents should send their kids there.”

Superintendent was named Guilford County Schools’ third permanent superintendent when the Board of Education voted to approve his appointment on July 24, 2008.

Guilford County Schools is the third largest district in North Carolina. The district has more than 71,000 students, almost 10,200 full- and part-time employees and a budget of more than $642 million. GCS has 120 schools located in urban, suburban and rural areas with 67 elementary schools, 22 middle schools, 26 high schools, two special education schools, and two sites which provide an alternative to long-term suspensions.

Upon Green’s arrival in September 2008, he embarked on a “Listening and Learning Tour” of GuilfordCounty to garner input from hundreds of GCS parents, students, teachers, principals and community members through town hall forums and other meetings. During this time, Green stressed excellence as the expectation for the district.

He augmented this tour with the “Mo Wants to Know” campaign, which was launched to include many thoughts and opinions in the district’s strategic planning process. “Mo Wants to Know” charged all stakeholders to help the district dream big by providing input to the superintendent. The more than 3,500 responses were incorporated into the district’s first-ever strategic plan, which was launched to the public on January 27, 2009.

The theme of the strategic plan, entitled Achieving Education Excellence, is excellence in all areas, including academics, character development and operations. The plan is a three-and-a-half year road map with specific, measurable goals and strategies in eight areas.

Immediately, employees, students and the community began to work toward the goal of achieving education excellence. This is seen in the notable gains made in student achievement and increased numbers in volunteer hours and in-kind donations.

The 2008-09 school year saw significant gains in Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the No Child Left Behind federal legislation. Almost 70 percent of the district’s schools met AYP, the highest number for GCS since the measure was established in 2003. The state’s ABC accountability program showed that 10 Guilford County schools were named 2009 Honor Schools of Excellence, compared to only one the year before. These schools made AYP, made at least expected growth with its schools and had 90 percent or more of its students score at the proficient level.

Prior to joining Guilford County Schools, Green held several positions with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). He joined the district in 2001 as its General Counsel, and in 2006, he was named chief operating officer. Upon his departure, he held the additional title of deputy superintendent. His duties included running the day-to-day operations of the district, which boasted 135,000 students, nearly 18,000 employees and a $1.17 billion budget.

Green holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics and a law degree, both from Duke University. Upon graduating from law school, his first job was a prestigious clerkship in the chambers of Federal District Court Judge N. Carlton Tilley, Jr. in Greensboro.  The following year, he held another prominent clerkship in the Sixth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. After completing his clerkship, Green joined the law firm of Smith Helms Mulliss & Moore LLP. He worked his way up to partner after six years before joining CMS in 2001.

Green has received numerous accolades for his work at CMS as well as in the community. His many honors include “Top 40 Under 40” from the Charlotte Business Journal and the Black Women’s Caucus of Charlotte’s Trailblazer award. He served on numerous nonprofit boards in Charlotte, including the YMCA, the Arts and Science Council and the Crisis Assistance Ministry. He also is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Green and his wife, Stephanie, a school psychologist, are the proud parents of two children, Brianna, 13, and Isaiah.



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