Maurice “Mo” Green is the superintendent of the Guilford County school system who is serving this year as the president of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. This comes after a stint as a Board member and then serving as vice-president last year.
Green has been superintendent of the state’s third-largest school system since 2008, and prior to heading to Guilford had held several positions with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools (CMS). The Guilford County schools have seen a number of excellent achievements during his tenure there, including the district’s first-ever strategic plan.
He joined CMS in 2001 as its general counsel and was named chief operating officer in ’06. Upon his departure from that system, he held the additional title of deputy superintendent.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics and a law degree, both from Duke University. Green held a couple of prestigious clerkships and then worked his way up to partner in a major law firm after six years getting involved in education.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in high school athletics during your time in education?
Many young athletes seemed interested in playing multiple sports. It wasn’t uncommon for a student to be on their school’s track, basketball and football team and staying active in every season.
Now, more and more of our athletes seem to be specializing in one sport. They focus on it, and look to play not just for their school, but also for clubs and AAU teams outside of their schools.
As students specialize in sports, more families are trying to choose what schools they attend based on the school athletic programs. Instead of attending and playing for their home school, many students and families try to transfer or find other ways to get their student on a different team.
As an organization we need to be careful not to forget that our purpose is to enrich the educational experience of our young people. Our students can learn a lot from sports, but we need to ensure they are learning the right lessons like sportsmanship, integrity and fair competition.
What are you most anticipating about your year as president?
The most significant undertaking we face is this year’s realignment process. The process is underway and it is a challenge, but not one that we cannot overcome. While it can be a point of controversy, the purpose is to create stronger, more competitive and more successful divisions to improve the experience for our student-athletes, schools and communities. I believe we are well on our way to doing just that.
What role do you believe athletics can play in the overall atmosphere of a high school and in the community?
Athletics plays a very significant role in the development of young people not only athletically but also emotionally, socially, and academically.
Athletics gives students a sense of belonging at school. No matter what group a student belongs to, they can all identify with their school’s athletes and cheer on their teams and athletes as part of one student body.
By that same token, athletics also give a community a sense of pride across a broad base of people including alumni, staff, neighbors, community organization and business partners.
What is the most difficult thing about serving as a school superintendent?
The most challenging part of serving as a superintendent is continuing to raise the level of expectations for student success every year.
We are providing tremendous opportunities for our young people to be involved in their schools, to challenge themselves academically, and to give back to their communities. Every single one of these opportunities can better prepare them for success and life after high school, and every single year more of our students take advantage of those opportunities to achieve new levels of success.
The challenge is convincing the students, parents and community that despite record success, we can do more and we can do better.