New Wake County superintendent sits down with ABC11

Thursday, May 31, 2018
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New Wake Superintendent Cathy Moore tells her priorities

Cathy Moore is the first woman and Latina to lead North Carolina's largest public school district.

She hopes this is a positive message to young people watching her.

"That there is possibility and there are opportunities and if you work hard enough. You can achieve anything," Moore said.

Including a six-figure salary.

The first time superintendent, a native of Ecuador, will make $274,000 a year.

Moore will make less money than her predecessor Jim Merrill, who reportedly made $303,091 a year. The school district says Moore makes less because she is new to her role. Merrill has previous superintendent experience at several school districts.

When she started teaching 30 years ago at Enloe High she was making just a fraction of that.

Today the average Wake teacher makes less than $54,000 a year.

Moore would like to see that figure closer to the national average of nearly $60,000.

She supports teachers lobbying lawmakers for more.

"Hopefully people are listening and paying attention because they have our future every day in our classrooms."

In Wake County, those classrooms are growing, with 2,000 students arriving in the district every year.

Moore says the challenge is working with county leaders to balance and budget for that growth, which also means building new schools.

Moore wants to establish better relationships with teachers and network with her contemporaries from neighboring districts who are facing similar challenges.

She also faces ongoing issues such as closing the achievement gap and eliminating the racial disparity in how students are disciplined,

"We want to attack from both the policy side in terms of what can be done to demonstrate that our policies are fair, but we also want to address a culture of high expectations and inclusivity for all of our schools."

And then there is school safety and preventing school shootings.

Moore says strong relationships between students, teachers and staff are critical and current safety measures must be revised.