April 30, 2019

Job Posting: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

The large public school system in North Carolina has opened a search for an Ombudsman Resolution Specialist. The position reports to the district superintendent and works with parents, community members and employees. It is not clear from publicly-available materials whether the search will supplement the work of or replace Earnest Winston, who was named the first CMS Ombudsman in August 2018. 

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and three years experience in mediating work-related conflicts or as an Ombuds. Preferred qualifications include: a master’s degree; five years of school-based experience; bilingual skills;  mediation or ADR experience; and active membership in professional associations related to Ombuds work and ADR. The position pays $54,122 to $68,952 per year. The application period opened yesterday and closes May 1, 2019. (CMS Careers, via TopSchoolJobs.)

Related posts:  Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Teachers Seek Ombuds for Workplace Bullying; Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District Names First Ombuds.


  1. A ridiculously-low salary range.

  2. It's more than my first ombuds job paid.

    1. While I appreciate that many established ombuds, myself included, have worked in positions which paid very little (or nothing at all) in the interest of building experience, it feels unhelpful at best and potentially harmful at worst to dismiss concerns about mis-salaried positions with a tired "well, in MY day" response. In light of the important concerns raised at recent ombuds gatherings regarding the way forward for the larger ombuds profession:

      1. Do we want to be a profession that is content to limit its membership to only those groups with the privilege of accepting years of underpaid entry-level jobs? While I appreciate the value of the white, middle-aged, middle-class, second-or-third-career lawyers, mediators, etc. in our ranks, I cannot help but wonder if we would be stronger as ombuds offices and as a profession if we made real effort to welcome in those with different backgrounds, lived-experiences, and economic realities.

      2. How does the lack of standardized salary ranges for ombuds reflect upon the professionalism, OR LACK THEREOF, of the ombuds role? It seems that one of the hallmarks of a legitimate professional career is a standardization of training, apprenticeship, standards of practice, credentialing (perhaps even accountability to a certifying body!?!), and compensation. If we cannot agree that the ombuds role deserves to be compensated at a fair and more-or-less uniform rate, how can we possibly meet the much more nuanced challenges of agreeing about defining our standards, creating a meaningful ombuds credential (sorry CO-OP), or holding our peers accountable?

      But if any other experienced ombuds are excited about relocating (along with their master's degree, 2nd language, and mediation bonafides, and IOA/ABA memberships) to North Carolina for $54k a year... I guess opportunity is knocking.

    2. Wasn't trying to back-in-my-day this. Instead, I was simply trying to acknowledge that a lot of these jobs don't pay a lot.

      There's a lot to unpack in the rest of your comment.

  3. An ombudsman within a school system should have independence and direct access to Principals and the school board. Having that ability to engage at the top requires significant experience to be effective. Teachers (alongside nurses and first responders) are in some of the most challenging, rewarding, but lowest paid professions in the country. A search of average teacher salaries in Charlotte showed a range of $34K - $59K. Principal salaries range from $91K and $116K. Board members from a few years ago ranged from $139K to $260K for the Superintendent. Being paid like an executive means you’re seen as an executive despite our standards. Where is the sweet spot for an Ombudsman? Perhaps a fair range would be the average of all principals on the low end and average of all board members at the top. That said, we cannot not lose sight of the disparity that salary brings, and the potential adverse impact on trust and effectiveness.

  4. Absolutely low pay (for those of us with experience)
    And, it’s what those of us truly committed to the services we provide sometimes have to do to get our foot in the door.
    I was paid around 44k when I first began as an Ombuds. 1st job in the field was $35k as a mediator. I wasn’t at all financially privileged because I had (still do) student debt, had to split usage of a car with my wife for years, couldn’t buy a house for years and had the advance degree.
    Wouldn’t trade the journey though.
    Perhaps this field would do better if we stopped attacking each other. Now that, that would be professional.
    Keep up the excellent work Tom K.

  5. It's worth pointing out that cost of living in Charlotte, NC is 5% lower than the national average, 34% lower than Los Angeles, 47% lower than San Francisco, and 59% lower than New York. so that's like $84,000-$105,000 in LA.

  6. CMS teachers with a master's degree and 5 years experience earn $51,294.00. So the salary seems high. On the other hand, the Executive Director of Employee Relations earns $104,873.60. So it's low.