Earnest Winston Chief of Staff
Teaching, writing and communications are areas of expertise for Earnest Winston that are also key skills needed in his role as chief of staff in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
“Education can be described as the process of sharing information,” Winston said. “Whether it’s instruction in a classroom or making sure CMS staff members have the knowledge they need – information is the key to strengthening schools and the district as a whole.”
Winston began his career as a reporter for the Mansfield News Journal in Ohio, later moving to the Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer where he covered local government in the city and nearby towns, as well as education in the area. He left Cincinnati to join the Charlotte Observer, where he covered government, development, general news – and wrote about his cousin Jennifer Hudson’s rise to fame on “American Idol.”
In 2004, Winston joined Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as an English teacher at Vance High School, where he also taught journalism and served as adviser to the school newspaper. After two years in the classroom, he moved into administration, joining the district’s communications department as an external communications supervisor. In 2008, he became executive coordinator/communications liaison for then-Chief Operating Officer Hugh E. Hattabaugh. He continued to serve Hattabaugh in that role after he was named interim superintendent in July 2011.
He is an active member of the community, serving as a tutor and volunteer for several educational programs. He serves on the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Freedom School Advisory Board and previously served on the boards of Charlotte Works Youth Council, Stratford Richardson YMCA and Children’s Scholarship Fund. He is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Charlotte and a current member of the Leadership Development Initiative class of Community Building Initiative.
Winston, a native of Chicago, holds a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is married with two young daughters.