Management Team » Learning Community Superintendents

Learning Community Superintendents

Denise Watts

Central 1

Denise Watts brings a history of educational leadership to her role as project zone superintendent of Project Leadership and Investment For Transformation
(L.I. F.T.), a philanthropic initiative composed of leaders from Charlotte’s largest community and family foundations intended to accelerate student achievement in nine West Charlotte schools.

Watts previously served as the project’s executive director and has also been a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal.

Watts began her teaching career in 1997 in Forsyth County at Atkins Middle School, where she also coached basketball and track. In 1999, she joined CMS as a teacher at Alexander Graham Middle, where she taught sixth-grade language arts. She spent a year as a principal intern at McClintock Middle before becoming an assistant principal at Mint Hill Middle in 2003.

In 2005, Watts was named principal at Mint Hill Middle School, which became a nationally designated School to Watch in her first year there. She was named the North Carolina Principal of the Year in 2008.

In 2009, Watts was was tapped for the CMS Strategic Staffing Initiative, which puts teams of top educators into struggling schools. She moved to Bishop Spaugh Community Academy, then the lowest-performing middle school in the state. After one year of her leadership, the school was one of the state's most improved.

Most recently, Watts was the Central Secondary Zone superintendent in CMS, where she provided leadership and oversight for 20 Title I secondary schools.

Watts, a native of Elkin, is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University, where she majored in elementary education. She holds a master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership from Wingate University. She is married and has two sons.


Tara Lynn Sullivan

Central 2
Biography Coming Soon!


John Wall


John A. Wall, Jr. was named Northeast Learning Community –Vance in 2015. He has worked in education for more than 26 years, the last four in Charlotte- Mecklenburg Schools.

“To lead, you must serve,” Wall said. “It is my goal to have a positive impact on the life of every student in my schools and my learning community.”

Wall began his educational career as a teacher in the New York City public schools in 1988. After two years, he moved to Wake County Public Schools, where he taught social studies, then became a dean of students, assistant principal and principal. In 2009, he was named Wake County Public School Principal of the Year and the North Central Region Principal of the Year by North Carolina.

In 2012, he joined Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as the principal of West Charlotte High School. Under his leadership, the graduation rate improved at West Charlotte, which he said was “one of the highlights of my career.”

A native of New York City, Wall holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina Central University and a master’s degree in educational administration from North Carolina State University.

He is married with one child. His wife is a principal in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Northwest learning community superintendent

Dr. Matthew Hayes


Dr. Matthew G. Hayes has led large and small high schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, as well as gained additional administrative experience at the district level. He is also a graduate of West Charlotte High School. All of it has helped prepare for the role of superintendent in the North Learning Community.

“One of the proudest moments of my career was helping make the School of International Studies and Global Economics at Olympics a place where students, parents and the staff embraced the challenge of building a small high school with big expectations for students,” Dr. Hayes says. “My role there exceeded all of my expectations – it allowed me to make a tremendous difference in the lives of high school students and also to learn all aspects of school administration.”

Before accepting the learning community superintendent position in the summer of 2014, Dr. Hayes served as principal of North Mecklenburg High. From 2006-2010, he was principal of the School of International Studies and Global Economics at Olympic, one of the Olympic community of small schools. He was assistant principal at Quail Hollow Middle from 2002 to 2006.

Dr. Hayes began his educational career as a sixth-grade teacher at Carmel Middle. A native of Charlotte, Dr. Hayes holds bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and elementary education and a master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. He earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Wingate University.

He is married with two children and his wife is a principal in CMS.


Tangela Williams


Tangela began her 21-year career in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as a Speech Language Pathologist in 1998. She served as an assistant principal from 2005 until 2009. Subsequently, she served as a principal at two schools: University Meadows Elementary and Statesville Road Elementary.  Under her leadership, University Meadows increased proficiency in both Reading and Mathematics from 2009 through 2011, and the school met 100% of AYP targets. Strategically Staffed as the principal at Statesville Road, Dr. Williams led the school to significant increases in reading, math, and science proficiency.  The school was recognized as a Magnet School of Distinction in 2015. Since 2015, Dr. Williams has served as Executive Director in three different learning communities: the West Learning Community (2015-2016), the Central Learning Community (2016-2018), and the Southwest Learning Community (2018-present).


Stephen Esposito


Dr. Stephen J. Esposito was named learning community superintendent for the Southwest Learning Community in Charlotte-Mecklenburg School in March 2018. He brings 16 years of classroom and administrative experience in CMS, and a proven ability to increase academic achievement, to his role as leader of the 27-school learning community.

“As an educator I strive to create the conditions in which all students have an equal and equitable educational experience in an effort to provide every child with limitless opportunities and possibilities,” Dr. Esposito said. “The best part about my job is taking the time to build relationships with other leaders and staff to address the needs of our students and schools.”

Dr. Esposito served as the interim learning community superintendent of the Northeast Learning Community from November 2017 to present. He began his career in CMS as a fourth-grade teacher at Elizabeth Lane Elementary in 2002, teaching there for six years. He spent a year as assistant principal at two schools, Lake Wylie and River Gate elementary schools, before becoming principal at Highland Creek Elementary. He was principal there for three years. Under his leadership, Highland Creek was named an Honor School of Excellence by the state.

He then became principal at Francis Bradley Middle. In his two years there, Dr. Esposito moved the school from not meeting expectations to exceeding them, based on the state’s EVAAS data. From 2015 to 2016, he served as executive director for the Vance feeder schools in the Northeast Learning Community and was named executive director of the Northeast Learning Community in 2016 and interim director in 2017.

Dr. Esposito was born in Chicago, lived in Indiana from age 6 to age 12 and lived another two years in Chicago. His family moved from Chicago to Waxhaw, North Carolina, and Dr. Esposito graduated from Sun Valley High. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Appalachian State University. He also holds an M.A.T. in school administration and a doctorate in educational leadership from Gardner-Webb University.

Dr. Esposito and his wife, Kristen, have three children ages 9, 7, and 4. The two oldest children attend a CMS school.


Dr. Ann Stalnaker

Exceptional Children

Biography Coming Soon!