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Cornelius News

Jeff Tarte, former mayor and NC senator, in the running for CMS superintendent

Jeff Tarte at a Newsmakers Breakfast

March 16. By Dave Yochum. Former NC Sen. Jeff Tarte is one of the candidates for superintendent of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Tarte, who is 66 years old, is also the former mayor of Cornelius.

BWP & Associates, the consulting firm hired by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, is conducting the search.

Tarte may be uniquely qualified.

A product of public education from kindergarten through post-secondary education—thanks to a Pell Grant for students who display exceptional financial need—he has taught advanced high school economics, as well as information technology management and education policy at Tulane University and Davidson College, respectively. Along the way he became a partner of a $14 billion global accounting and consulting firm, served as the CIO at two major teaching hospitals in Baltimore and Boston, and was the founder of a healthcare consulting company.

He is also a graduate of the Executive Education program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Political career

He served three terms as mayor of Cornelius, and then three terms as a state senator, representing District 41, which includes Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Mathews, Mint Hill, Pineville and parts of Charlotte.

His bipartisan approach in Raleigh got him in trouble with some of the GOP powers that be in Raleigh. When Tarte split with Gov. Pat McCrory on the I-77 toll issue, the governor quit talking to him. McCrory lost his bid for re-election in 2018, while Tarte won, serving one more term before losing to Natasha Marcus after court-ordered redistricting made 41 one of the most Democratic in the state.

Business background

CIO Magazine named him one of Top 100 IT executives in the USA. Tarte was named the “North Carolina Public Leader of the Year” by NCTech in 2018.

Chamber chair next year

Tarte has remained active since then, including serving as the Lake Norman Chamber’s public policy chair. He becomes the volunteer chamber chair in 2024.

Tarte is married to Dr. Nancy Tarte. They have three grown children.

Sources said Tarte would bring a modern CEO approach to a complex job with diverging constituencies having succeeded in not just in the legislature, but corporate America.


“We need a leader to step up. I do not need a job, and I do not pretend to have all the answers. I would serve the same way I have in past responsibilities as a partner, senator and board Member. I need to do this because our community needs someone who will ensure parents will be heard, teachers will be treated respectfully, and every student will be afforded the same opportunities I had to get an excellent education that will prepare them to be successful in life.” Tarte said.

Search underway

BWP, the consulting firm hired by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, could not be reached for comment. BWP hosted 28 community forums across the county in 48 hours. The search is expected to be completed in about a month.

Among other qualities, CMS has identified a number of traits the new superintendent should have, including:

  • Be an experienced leader and highly visible in the community
  • A student-centered leader
  • Someone who is strong and culturally competent
  • Is politically savvy
  • Understands North Carolina school finance

Tarte has an undergraduate degree from the Gies College of Business – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a graduate degree from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.