CTI Lauded by Educational and Cultural Leaders

CTI was honored to be lauded by two outstanding Charlotte educational and cultural leaders at CTI’s Fellows’ Finale celebration December 11 at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. For the text of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Acting Superintendent Ann Clark and Bechtler Museum President and CEO John Boyer please read on …

CMS Acting Superintendent Ann Clark:

“It was almost 10 years ago when a letter came from Yale about this extraordinary opportunity for teachers to actually lead and own the professional development for their district, and I thought immediately of Jeff. And Beth was an amazing teacher that I’ve actually had the privilege of watching teach. (Jeff Joyce and Beth Lasure are founding teacher leaders in CTI.) I asked if they would be willing to go spend a couple of weeks at Yale in the summer? And that’s how CTI got started. What I continue to say to anybody that ever asks me about CTI, is it is the most extraordinary opportunity for teachers to be in charge – which is what it should be. Teachers should be in charge. And so it has been fun for me to watch.… people that were really a part of the birth of this amazing teacher empowerment and leadership opportunity who are now leading (CTI), how are part of the Yale planning team. It’s been equally thrilling to see our partners with Davidson College and UNC Charlotte come together and I’m hoping we will continue to expand that network so we can offer more and more seminars and really open this up to touch more teachers which is really what I want to challenge those of you in the audience tonight with. We need to continue to make sure more teachers in CMS get this experience. We can’t send everyone to Yale but we certainly can create opportunities here in Mecklenburg County for more teachers to have the experience you’ve just had over the last semester. And so I really want to push you. We’re going to be opening up CTI I hope to even more schools or all schools. I’ve really pushed the teacher advisory team to realize that we really need every school and teachers within the district to see that this is a possibility for them. I was talking to one of the amazing teachers right before we walked in about how we create more teacher leadership opportunities within CMS. CTI is absolutely the beacon opportunity for teachers. But we need you to help us think about other ways beyond CTI that we can create those teacher leadership roles so that teachers in this district and coming into this district see ways that they can lead and remain in the classroom. Or lead and stay in the schoolhouse to share their magic with other teachers. And so I really want to push you to think about how that’s possible, but more importantly to think about who you can tap on the shoulder, help with an application this spring, to allow more teachers that have never had this experience to have it. I think it is the deepest, richest, most profound professional development that I’m aware of in the country. I would say that with great confidence to Jeff Joyce and Beth Lasure. That’s not possible without teacher leaders, without seminar leaders, without our higher ed partners, without Scott Gartlan, and amazing corporate partners that sponsor us, and people like John Boyer that see the possibilities of a humanities rich experience. What Jeff and Beth taught me is that, particularly for our secondary teachers but I would argue for pre-K all the way through twelfth grade, is our teachers are hungry for content. You’ve got the strategies. You’ve got the tools in most cases. But what you are really hungry for is going really, really deep in the content. I think we’ve delivered on that. But you’ve got to keep helping us make this program better, and helping it reach more teachers, because I believe, we have 9,000 teachers – it would certainly be my hope that anybody among those 9,000 that wanted the opportunity and was willing to put in the effort that you have – this is not easy professional development – I think you would all nod your heads and agree. This is a very different kind of professional development experience. At the end of the line you look back on it and it is worth it. But this is not a professional development experience for everyone, and I’m clear about that. But I know each one of you knows a teacher that’s ready for this opportunity so let’s make sure next time we convene in a year that we see new faces. And that many of you are now leading, or helping facilitate, or moving into the advisory role. There are opportunities for those here to continue to grow as well, and of course to continue to have seminar opportunities. This is too amazing an experience to be restricted to a small group of teachers. So help us build that network and help pass the baton on to others and look for ways that you can lead more deeply with CTI. And I will continue to be your number one champion. And I really want to salute John (Boyer) in particular. I feel like we all just got a mini amazing lecture in the few minutes he was here at the podium in terms of really saluting teachers, which is what I want to do as well. I never want to miss an opportunity to say thank you for the work you do. It is a privilege to lead and serve with you, and I welcome your ideas about how we can grow CTI larger while protecting the incredible quality and the richness of what you do. So thanks to Scott for his leadership. Thanks to all of you at a busy time of year for making this commitment to come here and celebrate. One of the things that really thrills me as I look around this room is the number of principals that are here supporting their teachers. That wasn’t the case 10 years ago. And so I give our teachers credit for helping their principals understand what an important experience this is. And so it is exciting for me to see the principals that are here to support their teachers tonight. So thank you.

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art President and CEO John Boyer:

“This program is one of our most favorite of all the different things we do at the Museum. One of the main reasons is because it was our first. We started our public outreach within the school system in the fall of 09 and we didn’t open to the public until Jan of 2010. CTI was woven early on into the fabric of the institution, the way we think about ourselves and the role we can play in the community. We have so much to learn from you, and that’s another reason why we do this.” Boyer lauded the interdiscliplinary aspect of CTI. “What’s so beautiful about teaching, is that you have them (students) for this brief window and yet it can make all the difference… The general public needs to have a much higher level of engagement and respect for the important work that you do.” Quoting Epictetus: “Only the educated are free.” “….The work you do is so fundamental to all of our freedom – as a city, as a county, as a nation, as citizens. All of that is predicated on what you do. So thank you. We look forward to working with you in the future as many years as you do what you do. We want to be there to support you any way we can.”