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Nooze Hounds: CMS Board Rep-Elects Liz Monterrey & Monty Witherspoon

Episode 84

Headshots of the two new CMS Board members superimposed next to each other in a split screen
Liz Monterrey (left) and Monty Witherspoon were both elected to the CMS Board of Education for the first time on Tuesday. They will be sworn in on Dec. 12. (Photos courtesy of respective campaigns)

On episode 84 of the Nooze Hounds podcast, we spoke to the new at-large Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Board of Education rep-elects Liz Monterrey & Monty Witherspoon.

The pair discuss what led them to run and how their own experiences shaped their respective platforms. They also touch on current issues facing the school district ranging from Moms for Liberty and ‘culture wars’ to the bond referendum, student mental health and private school vouchers.

The child of Cuban immigrants, Monterrey grew up in Miami and went through the public school system there. After moving to Charlotte in 2020, she began to get involved in politics at a grassroots level, petitioning the city to make changes after cars kept crashing into a dog park near her home. From there, she was encouraged to run for school board.

Witherspoon was born and raised in Charlotte, going through the CMS system himself. During graduation from Olympic High School, he told Ryan how he looked around and made the realization that none of the friends in his circle had actually made it to graduation with him. This experience inspired his passion for closing current gaps in success among students from different zip codes and advocating for more job-readiness programming in schools.

The trio also discussed the newly approved, $2.5-billion CMS bonds package, which will fund 30 projects around the district. The bond had faced opposition from some community and church leaders who warned that the resulting property tax increase would add to the risk of displacement for some, though it saw quite widespread support, passing with 63% of the vote on Tuesday.

Other topics of discussion included the rising sense of divisiveness surrounding not only the CMS Board but school boards around the country and how they’ve experienced that during the campaign, as well as the mental health crisis in CMS schools, the looming end of COVID recovery funding, and much more.

Related reading for the episode:

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