Category Archives: CTI News

CTI News News

CTI Welcomes 104 CMS Teachers as 2017 CTI Fellows

CHARLOTTE – April 2017 – Charlotte Teachers Institute welcomes our new cohort of 104 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and looks forward to starting this year’s seminars at Fellows Orientation on Thursday, April 20, at Discovery Place. “This year’s CTI Fellows represent the wide range of teachers in CMS, from new to veteran, pre-K to 12th grade, and physics to apparel development,” said CTI Director Scott Gartlan. “We continue to create significant growth opportunities for teacher leaders looking to deepen their knowledge base and impact the lives of their students.”

CTI’s eight concurrent seminars begin in April and run through November. CTI seminars are led by faculty experts in the arts and sciences, including five from UNC Charlotte and three from Davidson College. Seminars meet on those campuses and also at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Levine Museum of the New South in uptown Charlotte.

In each seminar, 13 CMS teachers (CTI Fellows) and a faculty leader work closely together in exploring a topic, long term and in depth, with each teacher creating new curriculum designed for his or her own students as a culminating project. CTI Fellows receive full access to both Davidson College and UNC Charlotte resources, as well as memberships to Discovery Place and the Charlotte Museum of History, and complimentary tickets to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Art + Culture and the Levine Museum. Upon completion each Fellow is awarded a $1,500 stipend and continuing education credits.

The 2017 Seminars, Leaders, Coordinators and Fellows include:

Using Mathematics to Understand Social Issues

Seminar Leader: Anthony Fernandes, Mathematics and Statistics, UNC Charlotte

Seminar Coordinator: Rima Solh, Math, Southwest Middle School

Jeffrey Barnes, Math, Rocky River HS

Antowanna Carpenter, CTE/Business, Butler HS

Javier Cely, Math, Collinswood Language

Emiko Furuya, Fifth Grade, Waddell Language Academy

Katelyn Gardepe, Fifth Grade            , Selwyn ES

Mary Catherine Grant, Third Grade, McAlpine ES

Camay Hunter, Math, West Charlotte HS

Gwendalyn Iversen, Second Grade, Winding Springs ES

Paige Laurain, Math, West Charlotte HS

Kelly McManus, Math, Martin Luther King, Jr. MS

Vertina Rhim, Math, Whitewater MS

Jimi’ E. Rogers, Kindergarten, Nations Ford ES

Media and Minorities: Unpacking Stereotypes

Seminar Leader: Debra C. Smith, Africana Studies, UNC Charlotte

Seminar Coordinator: Franchone Bey, English, West Charlotte High School

Eli Davis, Special Education, Lincoln Heights Academy

Audrey Dorante, History, East Mecklenburg HS

DeNise Gerst, Science, Barringer Academic Center

Mic Hamrick, Kindergarten, E.E. Waddell Language Academy

Shanique Lee, English, North Mecklenburg HS

Marielle Matheus, Third Grade, Irwin Academic Center

Latonda Mitchell, 2nd Grade, Mountain Island Lake Academy

Chrisana Paul, Literacy, Coulwood STEM Academy

Liza Quinn, Literacy, E.E. Waddell Language Academy

Kim Scouller  Second Grade Barringer Academic Center

Annette Teasdell, English/ History, North Mecklenburg HS

Torie Wheatley, English, North Mecklenburg HS

Chemical Interactions in the Body

Seminar Leader: Erland Stevens, Chemistry, Davidson College

Seminar Coordinator: Kassie Woodard, Chemistry, W.A. Hough High School

Morgan Andrews, Psychology, W.A. Hough HS

Kathleen Butler, Dance, South Charlotte MS

Phil Carver, Science, Coulwood STEM Academy

NaKreshia Cox, Science, Sedgefield MS

Mariella Duarte, ESL, Whitewater MS

Namrata Gupta, Science, Nations Ford ES

Monica High, Science, Hawthorne Academy

Christie Johnson, Science/Social Studies, Northeast MS

Kari Rhoades, Biomedical Sciences, Mallard Creek HS

Nicole Sparrow, English, Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences

Joshua Trujillo, Science, W.A. Hough HS

Erika Williams, Biomedical Science, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology

Memorials, Memories, and American Identity  (meets at the Levine Museum of the New South)

Seminar Leader:  Emily Makas, Architectural and Urban History, UNC Charlotte

Seminar Coordinator: Wendy Potter, Apparel Production, Butler High School

Nicole Boyd, Fifth Grade, Dilworth ES

Rhonda Doe, Kindergarten, Barringer Academic Center

Yasmin Forbes, African American Studies, West Mecklenburg HS

Tracy Kennedy, Fourth Grade/Japanese, E.E. Waddell Language Academy

Deanna Kurtz, Civics/Economics, South Mecklenburg HS

Megan McGee, Language Arts, McClintock MS

Ted Miracle, Fourth Grade, Endhaven ES

Alicia Olmeda, ESL , Coulwood STEM Academy

Beth Owens, Visual Art, Reedy Creek ES

Jaclyn Peterson, Fifth Grade, David Cox Road ES

Lecia Shockley, Third Grade, Selwyn ES

Don Winborne, Physical Education , Elon Park ES

Doing Science: Hands-On Learning in the Laboratory

Seminar Leader: Susan Trammell, Physics and Optical Science, UNC Charlotte

Seminar Coordinator: Amy Thomas, First Grade, Reedy Creek Elementary School

Scott Balay, Science, E.E. Waddell Language Academy

Geneva Bell, Science, Druid Hills Academy

Tracie Cooper, Science, Hidden Valley ES

Valerie Darmstaedter, Kindergarten, Dilworth ES

Michelle Faggert, Science, Martin Luther King, Jr. MS

Katrina Gordon, Second Grade, Selwyn ES

Ryan Neesam, K-5 Science, Military & Global Leadership Academy at Marie G. Davis

Curtis Overton, Technology/Design, West Mecklenburg HS

Zachary Sanford, Science, W.A. Hough HS

Meg Shuman, Fourth Grade, Barringer Academic Center

Jessica Silva, Science Lab, Rama Road ES

Victoria Woods, Science, Independence HS

Cultivating Visual Literacy

Seminar Leader: Maggie McCarthy, German Studies and Film, Davidson College

Seminar Coordinator: Deena Aglialoro, Language Arts, Ranson Middle School

Janae Aiken, English , East Mecklenburg HS

Kate Allen, Visual Art, W.A. Hough HS

Lora Davis, French, South Mecklenburg HS

Jacci Fizet, Pre-Kindergarten, David Cox Road ES

Michele Lemere, English, Garinger HS

Kim Mayes, Science, Cochrane Collegiate Academy

Erin Murray, Kindergarten, Barringer Academic Center

Justin Pierce, Visual Art, W.A. Hough HS

Alejandro Rangel, Spanish, Military & Global Leadership Academy at Marie G. Davis

Emily Woods, Fourth Grade, Barringer Academic Center

Amanda Soesbee, English, North Mecklenburg HS

Jessica Young, Second Grade, Davidson ES

The Rise (and Fall) of Democracies around the World

Seminar Leader: Shelley Rigger, Political Science, Davidson College

Seminar Coordinator: Amy Strong Pasko, World History, North Mecklenburg High School

Brad Baker , U.S. History, W.A. Hough HS

Raymond Beamon, World History, West Mecklenburg HS

Arianna Bonner, Social Studies, Martin Luther King, Jr. MS

Mayra Garcia, Spanish, W.A. Hough HS

Bassam Halaweh, Arabic, Military & Global Leadership Academy at Marie G. Davis

Cheryl Hanly, Language Arts, McClintock MS

Ron King, History, West Charlotte HS

Lisa Modrow, Social Studies, Bailey MS

Christa Rawald, Social Studies, Ranson MS

Michael Richards, World History, Bailey MS

Lynn Roach, Economics, Harding University HS

Roshan Varghese, History, Butler HS

From Self to Students: Canvassing Art to Explore Identity  (meets at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art)

Seminar Leaders: Adriana L. Medina, Reading and Elementary Education, UNC Charlotte, and Christopher Lawing, Vice President, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Seminar Coordinator: Amethyst Klein, STEAM, University Park Creative Arts School

Carla Aaron-Lopez, Visual Art, Whitewater MS

Liz Allard, Science, Cochrane Collegiate Academy

Emily Burrell, Math, Piedmont Open IB MS

Nicholas Gattis, Band, Carmel MS

Mary Draper Hager, Second Grade, Selwyn ES

Natalie Jones, Visual Art, West Charlotte HS

Jaianna McCants, Visual Art, North Mecklenburg HS

Marjorie O’Shea, Visual Art, W.A. Hough HS

Mindy Passe, Fifth Grade, Barringer Academic Center

Laura Steffy, Visual Art, North Mecklenburg HS

Andy Wertz, English/Film, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology

Amy Whealdon, Visual Art, Reid Park ES

CTI News

Why I continue to teach in CMS

Teacher Testimonials about Retention and CTI:  Responses from the 2016 Fellows’ Questionnaire

CTI helped me remember the love and passion that I have for teaching. I became jaded over the years working in education, but this seminar was an amazing opportunity for me to refresh myself and become more passionate about teaching students. If I had not had this opportunity, I probably would not be teaching now.

CTI was a great experience and is definitely a reason to consider CMS. Being closer to the end of my career than the beginning, CTI factors in my decision to stay in CMS until retirement because of the opportunities to be published and to earn the extra stipend money.

CTI is one of the very few opportunities that I have to feel that I have independence in my teaching. Even more importantly, it is the aspect of my job that makes me feel like a professional.

CTI has provided a welcome experience in which I am treated like a professional and have grown as a teacher and a leader. It is one of the most positive things I have done and has kept me refreshed and inspired as a teacher.

CTI has impacted my decision to continue teaching in CMS because of the opportunity given to collaborate with other teachers and partner with local colleges. The idea and vision of CTI is very creative and allows teachers to present educational materials that encourages students to think creatively.

CTI has added interest and value to my job. The opportunity to participate in CTI has given me more motivation and confidence in doing well.

Currently experiencing an existential crisis in my professional life, so I have no idea what I’m doing with my life! But CTI has helped me realize that teaching is more about growth as an individual more than anything.

I considered looking for jobs in Cabarrus County, but didn’t want to miss the opportunity to work in CMS with CTI.

If I did not have CTI to impact my teaching I would not have stayed with CMS as a teacher.

CTI is one of the most positive things about CMS. I considered leaving CMS this year but didn’t in large part because of my commitment to CTI. I hope to continue with it for many years.

CTI has helped me decide to continue teaching in CMS because they offer professional development that actually helps. I am able to talk with teachers of multiple grade levels instead of just my own so that I can see where the progression of knowledge goes. This why I can tailor my instruction to help fill needs that show up in later grades by giving my students a base of knowledge to work with.

I live in Union County but choose to stay in CMS this year for CTI.

The CTI seminars gave me encouragements through meeting other teachers who shared interests in improving teaching.

I enjoy the collaboration with the other fellows and the leader. I have grown alot from that experience.

It gives leadership role and a great achievement to be proud of.

I feel participating in CTI assists me in my personal growth goals.

The connection to the universities, opportunities to learn from professors, to have meaningful/intellectual conversations with peers, to learn and grow as a teacher on topics that interest me, and opportunities to earn more income make this program a huge incentive.

CTI is a great professional development for me as a teacher. It often recharges me and gives me new ideas and new strategies for the classroom.

I love working with teachers in CTI. The fellowship and sharing of ideas makes me a better teacher.

It makes me still want to be a teacher. It pushed me to go out of my comfort zone and continue my understanding of math. It shows me it’s possible to still teach and forward my education.

CTI is a wonderful program. It provides a creative outlet for developing curriculum units and opportunities to collaborate with UNCC and Davidson faculty as well as teachers I normally would not get to meet. This is very refreshing and definitely motivates me to continue teaching.

I like that CMS has opportunities like this, which keeps me engaged with CMS.

CTI is a great teacher retention tool. As I have thought about switching positions or leaving the profession in the past years, I have not wanted to quit a commitment I made to CTI which has kept me here.

I considered leaving for Lincoln County this school year but CTI was my biggest reservation in applying for the position!

I was assigned the inclusion classroom, without my input. I was extremely overwhelmed and depressed at the beginning of this year. Every day was a struggle and I really wanted to leave CMS. If it were not for CTI, I would have left. CTI gave me something positive to look forward to every week and gave me hope for my future. CTI was my angel.

CTI is a wonderful program. For me, it provides an intellectual stimulation and helps me grow as a learner. CTI has become for me the best teacher development offered by CMS. I love it and recommend it to everyone.

CTI is the best professional development offered within CMS.

The most collaborative PD I have experienced. I value the opportunity to meet and work with teachers from different grade levels and disciplines.

CTI News

Giving Back to Charlotte Teachers Institute

Charlotte Teachers Institute is an educational partnership with UNC Charlotte, Davidson College and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to strengthen teaching and learning.  Research finds that teachers are the most important factor in raising student achievement.  Your gift will directly affect public school PreK-12 teachers and students, university and college professors, and staff in Charlotte Teachers Institute in the following ways:

  • Transformed Teachers – PreK-12 classroom teachers collaborate in content-rich seminars with university and college professors who facilitate learning experiences based on cutting-edge research.  Your gift will enrich CTI seminars by providing teachers with opportunities to co-create alongside scholars and community partners.
  • Engaged Students – P-12 classroom teachers create original, innovative curricula that motivates their students to reach new academic heights.  Your gift will provide resources to help teachers create new content for their classrooms from the science lab to the writers’ workshop.  
  • Experienced Faculty – Expert professors of the liberal arts and sciences are the lifeblood of CTI seminars.  CTI professors lead seminars all around Charlotte, including at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Discovery Place, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, and Levine Museum of the New South. Your gift will provide opportunities to support professors who lead CTI seminars focused on making connections to the greater Charlotte Community.
  • Committed Partners and Donors – A big part of CTI’s success is ongoing program evaluation.  Working with stakeholders — teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, professors and community leaders — CTI is committed to continued improvement and growth.  Your gift will support long-term planning and execution of mixed-methods evaluation plans.  

Your tax-deductible gift will transform teaching in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and help elevate the teaching profession.  Please email to inquire about giving back to teachers and CTI today.  Thanks!

CTI News News

CTI Open House 2017

We had a great turnout for our Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) Open House 2017! Over 100 teachers from more than 50 different Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were able to meet with our 2017 Seminar Leaders and learn more about the different seminars that we are offering this year.

Applications are now open and available through March 9th.

2016 CTI News Vol 8: Exploring Memoir - From Picture Book to Digital Story

Exploring Science through Memoir

Kassie Woodard, High School Science, William A Hough High School

Curriculum Unit (pdf)

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CTI News News

Fellows’ Finale 2016

Fellows’ Finale 2016 was a success! We had an awesome time celebrating our 93 Fellows and their accomplishments in completing their seminars and Curriculum Units this year! A fun filled night jam-packed with laughter and shared memories over the year that united the Fellows together with CTI.

Fellows' Finale 2016

CTI News News

2017 CTI Seminars Announced

Six of the 2017 CTI seminars have been announced.  The Teacher Steering Committee plans to add two more before January 2017.  Interested CMS teachers should read the seminar descriptions and reach out with any questions.  Also, please check the 2017 seminar schedule so you know the full commitment.  Additionally, please review the admissions review policies.  Check back often to learn more about the final two seminars.

CTI News News

2012 CTI Seminar Leader Peter Tkacik Named Early-Career Professor

photo 3Peter Tkacik, associate professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science at UNC Charlotte, was named the Bonnie E. Cone Early-Career Professor in Teaching at the 2016 University Convocation.  Dr. Tkacik led the 2012 CTI Seminar, “The Science of NASCAR,” in the Motorsports Research Labs.  Teachers explored the nation’s fourth largest water channel, only Tomographic Particle Image Velocimetry system in the US, and lots of race cars.  Read more about Dr. Tkacik here.

CTI News News

104 New Fellows Begin 2016 Seminars


Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) kicked off its 2016 Seminars at Discovery Place on April 21, 2016 with the Fellows Orientation.  104 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers representing kindergarten through 12th grade were selected as CTI Fellows and will participate in eight seminars led by Davidson College and UNC Charlotte professors.  Fellows met their Seminar Leaders (professors) during the orientation event, had a chance to dive into the seminar content  and networked with community partners from Charlotte Symphony, Discovery Place Education Studio, NASCAR Hall of Fame, and UNC Charlotte’s Writing Program.  Seminars take a break over the summer and pick up in September with weekly meetings through November.  Each Fellow writes a 20-page curriculum unit designed to motivate and challenge their students to new academic heights.  Read more.


CTI News News

Thanks to PwC for Empowering Teachers!

PwC_logo_smallCharlotte Teachers Institute is grateful to PwC for their participation in CTI’s 2016 Fellows Orientation and their generous contribution of $5,000 to support this year’s CTI Fellows. PwC Carolinas Marketing and Community Relations Leader Carrie Reeder provided an enthusiastic welcome during our Orientation event April 21 at Discovery Place and shared PwC’s goals for advancing financial literacy and partnering with teachers to bridge the financial literacy gap and increase economic mobility in our community.

Read more about PwC’s commitment to Empowering Teachers to Set Up Students for Financial Success.

CTI News News

Charlotte Teachers Institute to Host Open House for CMS Teachers

New Seminars for 2016 Announced

CHARLOTTE – Feb. 19, 2015 – Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) will host an Open House for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) teachers on Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30-7:30 pm, at UNC Charlotte Center City in uptown Charlotte. Interested CMS teachers from all subject areas in grades preK-12 can register for the Open House at

CTI recently announced its new seminars for 2016, featuring a wide variety of engaging, interdisciplinary topics for teachers from all grade levels and subject areas. Interested CMS teachers can meet the seminar leaders (Davidson College and UNC Charlotte professors), learn more about the seminars and the application process at the Feb. 25 Open House. Full-time CMS teachers are eligible to apply. The online application deadline is March 10.

CTI’s 2016 seminars include:

  • Literacy and Literacies in the 21st Century led by Kyra Kietrys, Hispanic Studies, Davidson College

  • How Science Is Done: A Behind the Scenes Look at Scientific Research, Susan Trammell, Physics & Optical Science, UNC Charlotte

  • The Many Faces of Capitalism around the Globe – Past and Present, Jurgen Buchenau, History, UNC Charlotte

  • Writing with Power: No Fear Here, Brenda Flanagan, English, Davidson College

  • FUNdamental Ideas in Math for Grades PreK-12, Harold Reiter, Mathematics & Statistics, UNC Charlotte

  • It’s a Small World! Exploring Science at the Tiniest Scale, Marcus Jones, Chemistry, UNC Charlotte

  • Tracing the Legacy of Hispanic Cultures – 1492 to Today, Angela Willis, Hispanic Studies, Davidson College

  • Exploring Memoir – From Picture Book to Digital Story, Brian Kissel, Reading & Elementary Education, UNC Charlotte

CTI Fellows collaborate with higher education faculty in these long-term seminars to create innovative curricula for their own students. All eight seminars begin in April and continue through November, including a summer reading and research period. Each CTI Fellow receives a $1500 stipend and three continuing education credits for their curriculum development work.

CTI is in educational partnership among Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), Davidson College and UNC Charlotte, designed to strengthen teaching in CMS by cultivating content knowledge, creativity, leadership skills and collaboration among local public school teachers.


For more information, visit or contact CTI Director Scott Gartlan at

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools media contact: Renee McCoy | 980-343-0954 |

Davidson College media contact: Jay Pfeifer | 704-894-2920 |

UNC Charlotte media contact: Buffie Stephens | 704-687-5830 |

CTI News News

CTI Celebrates 2015 Fellows and Their New Curricula

See their Engaging New Curricula Published on the CTI Website

Charlotte Teachers Institute recently recognized more than 80 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers as CTI Fellows for successfully completing CTI seminars and designing engaging new curricula for their students. CTI also announced publication of these CTI Fellows’ curriculum units on the CTI website where they are available for use by teachers worldwide.

CTI seminars are led by Davidson College and UNC Charlotte professors in the arts and sciences who challenge teachers to deepen their content knowledge and think in interdisciplinary ways. CTI Fellows in turn share their creative learning with their students and other teachers,

The 2015 CTI Fellows represent grade levels preK-12, and a wide range of subjects from language arts, world history, foreign languages and art, to math, sciences, technology, and more.

“Together, these teachers spent nearly 3,000 hours over seven months attending CTI seminars at Davidson College and UNC Charlotte,” said CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan. “In addition, they read and researched extensively, and wrote original curriculum units designed for their own students. They plan to share their new curricula with nearly 500 other CMS teachers, and almost 7,500 CMS students will learn from the units our Fellows created this year.”

Each CTI Fellow received three continuing education units and a stipend for seminar completion. CTI celebrated these teachers’ achievements at its Fellows’ Finale Celebration at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in December.

CTI presents eight, concurrent seminars each year, running April to December. CTI Fellows have created over 500 curriculum units created by CTI Fellows since 2009.

See the full list of 2015 CTI Fellows and their seminars.

CTI News

2016 CTI Seminars Announced

Seminars poster 2016



CTI News Current Events Events News

Teachers As Scholars: The Global Energy Challenge Thursday, Feb. 4 at Discovery Place

8.5_11globalenergychallenge for widget

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) teachers will share bright new ideas for teaching and learning about energy, at a CTI event for the public on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Discovery Place in Uptown Charlotte.


This “Teachers As Scholars” program features CMS teachers who collaborated on the topic “The Global Energy Challenge,” and highlights innovative curricula they developed during a long-term CTI seminar. CTI Seminar Leader Durwin Striplin, professor of chemistry at Davidson College, will also share his energy expertise at the free Feb. 4 event.

Sponsored by Duke Energy, the program begins with a reception and viewing of the CTI-generated, energy-related curricula from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by presentations and a panel discussion with Striplin and CTI Fellows until 8 p.m. Space is limited, so registration is recommended.

Featured topics and teachers include:

  • The Global Energy Challenge – Striplin
  • Energy Explorations – Lisa Lewis, First Grade, Mountain Island Lake Academy
  • Efficiency and Availability: Designing an Energy Self-Sufficient Community – Kory Trosclair, Science, Bailey Middle School
  • Creative Verve: The Merging of Metaphor and the Scientific Mind – Gloria Brinkman, Art, North Mecklenburg High School
  • A Good Planet is Hard to Find: Climate Change, Energy and Global Sustainability – Jeanne Cooper, Earth and Environmental Science, Mallard Creek High School

The event is an outgrowth of an intensive, seven-month-long CTI seminar Striplin led for CMS teachers in grades K-12, where they explored various forms of energy, the history and science behind its conservation, as well as what new technologies can address the global energy crisis. CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan said, “We are so proud to showcase teacher-written curricula focused on energy sciences for K-12 students.  These CTI Fellows are on the front lines inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

Thirteen sets of extensive, energy-related curriculum units for grades K-12 were developed by teachers in Striplin’s seminar and designed specifically for their own students. All 13 are published on the CTI website, along with 500 other teacher-created curricula from CTI.  Currently CTI is offering another eight seminars for 2016.

2015 CTI News Vol 1: Exercise and the Brain

Algernon’s Exercise Regimen

Molly McCarthy, Language Arts, Piedmont IB Middle School

Final Unit(pdf)   Implementing Teaching Standards(pdf)

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