Author Archives: Scott Gartlan

CTI Open House, 2/22/18, UNC Charlotte Center City

CMS Teachers, join us for our 2018 Teacher Open House on Thursday, February 22, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at UNC Charlotte Center City.  It’s a special opportunity to meet the 2018 professors leading seminars, learn more about seminar topics and ask questions of experienced CTI Fellows.


Here’s why:

  • Enrich your content knowledge in subjects you teach
  • Collaborate with professors from Johnson C. Smith University and UNC Charlotte and CMS teachers from all grade levels and subject areas
  • Create new curriculum you design to meet your own students’ needs
  • Grow professionally, intellectually, personally
  • Experience meaningful PD to advance your teacher portfolio
  • Develop your leadership role in CMS
  • Publish your work on the CTI website
  • Enjoy hearty dinners before seminar meetings
  • Earn a $1,500 stipend and 3 CEU credits
  • Get inspired and inspire others!


UNC Charlotte Undergraduate Wins Honor Working on CTI Research

Hao Djur presenting her research on CTI at the 2017 Summer Research Symposium (photo credit: Lynn Roberson)
Geraldine Abinader presenting her research on CTI at the 2017 Summer Research Symposium (photo credit: Lynn Roberson)

Two UNC Charlotte undergraduate students participated in UNC Charlotte’s Charlotte Community Scholars program aimed at fostering research skills in the area of civic engagement.  Geraldine Abinader, a mathematics major and Spanish and Urban Youth and Communities minor, and Hao Djur, an anthropology and biology and Urban Youth and Communities minor, completed intensive research projects over the course of the 9-week summer program.  At the 2017 Summer Research Symposium, Geraldine received first place in the “Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, Business, and Art” category for “Student Learning + Retention = Teacher Growth:  A Product Evaluation Case Study among CTI Fellows.”  Read more on College of Liberal Arts & Sciences website.

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.

Giving Back to Charlotte Teachers Institute

GIVE to CTI’s Crowdfunding Project today!  

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!

2017 Open House for Teachers

Calling all CMS teachers!!!

2017 CTI Teacher Open House is Thursday, 23 February 2017, at the Charlotte Museum of History

Register today!

Come learn about the eight seminars offered in 2017.

Benefits to being a CTI Fellow:
•Creative, Collaborative & Collegial
•Intensive content study in your area of interest (7 months)
•Diverse classroom teachers (all grade levels & subjects)
•Expert faculty from Davidson College & UNC Charlotte
•Design new curriculum for your own students
•Publish your work
•Develop your leadership role in CMS
•$1,500 stipend and 3 CEU credits

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.

2016 CTI Teachers as Scholars: Charlotte as a New South City at the Levine Museum

savethedate-receptiontasTeachers as Scholars

Charlotte:  a New South City

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

5:30-8:30 p.m.

Levine Museum of the New South

200 E. 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28202




What can a New South history scholar and three local public school educators who developed new curricula about mill children, music, racism and the power of individual voices, teach us the Queen City’s future? Come find out at Charlotte: A New South City, a Teachers As Scholars event, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 5:30-9:00 p.m., at the Levine Museum of the New South, presented by Charlotte Teachers Institute.

Part of CTI’s Teachers As Scholars series, this event features work that grew out of CTI seminars for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers, including two seminars led by Dr. Shepherd (Shep) McKinley, senior lecturer in history at UNC Charlotte.

“I’ve always felt that much of the rich history of Charlotte and the South in the several decades after the Civil War was relatively neglected,” McKinley said. “Now, after the Keith Scott shooting in September, I think it’s even more important for teachers, students and all of us to understand the origins and rise of industrialization, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement and the post-1980 boom years. As always in history, it’s a complicated story, and the more we all know about it, the better choices we’ll make in the future.”

In his two CTI seminars (Charlotte as a New South City in 2013 and The Rise of the New South in 2010), McKinley collaborated with about 25 CMS teachers. These CTI Fellows created original New South curricula to teach to their own students, in first grade through advanced high school classes, and a wide range of subject areas — history, economics, music, literature, apparel and design and more. McKinley’s 2013 seminar included a dozen meetings at the Levine Museum of the New South where Fellows studied the museum’s exhibitions and collections up close to inform and enliven the new curricula they developed for their students. They also toured Charlotte’s NoDa community and Loray Mills in Gastonia. Fellows used these resources and more in creating new curricula to teach students about their own community and its complex history.

The Nov. 15 Teachers As Scholars program begins with a reception and viewing of the Levine Museum of the New South exhibitions from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Featured presentations and discussion follow with McKinley, the three featured CTI Fellows, and some of their students, until 8:00 p.m. Presentations include:

  • Charlotte as a New South City – Shepherd McKinley, senior lecturer in history, UNC Charlotte
  • Using Music as a Common Language to Fight Racism – Holly Lambert, music and special education teacher, and her 12th grade student William Young, Lincoln Heights Academy
  • Inspirational Lessons through Life Struggles: The Mill Children – Elizabeth Kennedy, language arts teacher, Randolph Middle School
  • My Story: Students’ Lives through Students’ Eyes – Eboné Lockett, English teacher, Cato Middle College High School, and students from Cato’s Our Voices Spoken Word Guild and the West Mecklenburg High School Drama Guild.

Guests can explore the Levine Museum exhibitions (The Life and Times of Robert Smalls, NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South and Cottonfields to Skyscrapers) again after the presentations until 9:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. REGISTER HERE.

Presentation Descriptions

Charlotte as a New South City –Shepherd McKinley, Senior Lecturer, History, UNC Charlotte

Shep McKinley has led two CTI seminars for CMS teachers exploring the New South and Charlotte, 1865-present. In 2010, his CTI Fellows discussed eras and issues from Reconstruction to the newest New South and toured Noda with Tom Hanchett. In 2013, the focus was closer to home. They met with Tom at the Levine Museum of the New South, toured the “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers” exhibit, and toured the Loray Mill in Gastonia.

Using Music as a Common Language to Fight Racism Holly Lambert, Music & Special Education Teacher, and William Young, Student, Class of 2017, Lincoln Heights Academy

Holly Lambert was a CTI Fellow in Shep’s The Rise of the New South seminar in 2010. Based on her involvement in that seminar she created a curriculum unit for secondary music classes on how music is used to peacefully protest.  Holly will discuss components from her unit, as well as barriers she faced in teaching it to mostly minority special education students. She will also showcase a song created from this unit by one of her students, William Young, who is now in 12th grade.

Inspirational Lessons through Life Struggles:  The Mill Children — Elizabeth Kennedy, Language Arts, Randolph Middle School

Beth Kennedy was a Fellow in Shep’s 2013 CTI seminar Charlotte as a New South City: Using the Collections of the Levine Museum of the New South which began with the question, “What makes the South distinctive?” After hearing her non-southern colleagues’ perspectives, Beth became inspired to bring the culture, hardships, uniqueness and history of mill workers and their villages to her students, and embedded many primary and secondary sources within her novel study/unit. She notes her students strongly benefit from this unit because many of them see mills from the past in their own backyards.

My Story”– Students’ Lives through Students’ EyesEboné Lockett, English, Cato Middle College High School

Eboné Lockett was a Fellow in CTI’s 2014 Visual Storytelling seminar. She chose to develop new curriculum centered on “The Children of Children Keep Coming,” written by Russell Goings and posthumously illustrated by Romare Bearden. This poetic epic captures and celebrates ancestral Giants, including the Griot who told their tales.  “My Story” was the vehicle Eboné used to inspire her students to become Griots and give breath, voice and ‘worth’ to their own life stories and experiences. Some of Eboné’s students will share their stories with us tonight: Jalah Adgers and Ethiene Matondo from the West Mecklenburg High School Drama Guild, and Isabella Moose, Dayani Williams, Yulisa Wilson-Randich and Imani Clark from the Cato Middle College High School “Our Voices” Spoken Word Guild.

2016 Evening for Educators: Science/Art/Identity

read more »

2016 Science Research Experience for Teachers

SRET 8 Sept 2016

Please join us on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 in the College of Health and Human Services (Room 128) at UNC Charlotte , as CTI Fellows, UNC Charlotte professors, graduate and undergraduate students share their collaborative research working in university laboratories together this summer.  This event marks the kick off of CTI‘s fall seminars for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers.

Science Research Experience Participants


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.

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.


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 |

Charlotte Observer, 5/25/15: “Playing at School Learning at School”

Charlotte Observer, 5/25/15:  “Playing at School Learning at School” – Former CTI Seminar Leader and Chair of English Department Mark West discusses the importance of play in schools, and describes his experience leading a CTI seminar for CMS teachers.

CTI Fellows Named Teachers of the Year

by Matthew Strohl, CTI Summer Intern

Each year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg teachers are recognized for their outstanding achievements. This year is no different, with a plethora of teachers that have gone far and beyond for their students. Schools nominate teachers that have shown unparalleled ability to be considered for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Teacher of the Year award. This award is given out on two levels: each CMS school nominates a teacher to receive a school-level award, and then the county selects a teacher from those to receive the county-wide award. Not only is winning these awards a great honor, but even being considered for one shows prowess and determination to help students succeed. Teachers from all over CMS take part in Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) seminars each year. From these teachers, there is a constant chance for there to be a few Teacher of the Year nominees. This year is no different; from the 98 teachers that completed seminars last year, five of them received Teacher of the Year awards from their schools. Two of these CTI fellows were also finalists for the county-wide award. “Charlotte Teachers Institute prides itself in helping teachers enhance their skills both within the classroom and without,” said CTI director Scott Gartlan. The five CTI fellows that received awards are Brad Baker, 10th grade civics and economics teacher from William A. Hough High School; Lyndsay Burns, 4th grade teacher from David Cox Elementary; Tara Lee, 7th grade language arts teacher from Bailey Middle School; Jashonai Payne, 5th grade teacher from Clear Creek Elementary; and Emily Wegener, Specialized Academic Curriculum (SAC) teacher from Albemarle Road Elementary. These five teachers of the year had plenty of positive feedback for CTI in regards to its influence on their achievements. “CTI sparked my love for learning and made my lessons more engaging and exciting for my students,” said Lee. “This created a productive learning environment which led to being recognized by my colleagues.” Wegener, one of two CMS-wide Teacher of the Year award finalists that were CTI fellows, stated “CTI gave me the level of professionalism and depth of discussion that I was looking for.” Sean “Brad” Baker was the other finalist. ”CTI is great because you are getting quality detail and education in your seminar leader and having detailed professional discussions between educators,” said Baker. “I have worked hard to improve myself every year as a teacher and CTI has helped in that process. “It meant so much that my kids and my type of teaching were valued by my coworkers,” stated Wegener about her award. “I loved that I was getting a ‘normal’ teacher award, even though my area of teaching is not that normal at all!” Both Baker and Wegener’s accomplishments are incredibly notable and reflect their success with the help of CTI. Baker and Wegener, alongside Payne, Lee and Burns, are incredible teachers that show exceptional promise in their respective academic fields.

Discovery Place and Gantt Center to Host 2014 CTI Seminars

The Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) is proud to announce two new cultural partnerships aimed at enhancing teachers’ experiences in the 7-monthlong seminars.  Discovery Place and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will host five CTI seminars in 2014.  “We are beyond excited to have the opportunity to work with icons of the scientific and cultural scene in the greater Charlotte community,” said Scott Gartlan, CTI Executive Director.  “These partnerships will provide full access for our teachers to explore artifacts in innovative ways to improve their curriculum.”  Teachers, known as “Fellows,” participating in 5 seminars (listed below) will meet together for each of the 12 seminar meetings at either Discovery Place or the Gantt Center from April through November 2014.  Additionally, all 104 Fellows (13 teachers in each of the eight seminars) will receive a free yearly membership to Discovery Place, Discovery Place Kids, Charlotte Nature Museum and the new Education Studio in the STEM Center for Professional Development.  Click here to learn more about all eight 2014 CTI Seminars.

Discovery Place Seminars

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • The Global Energy Challenge
  • Metamorphosis:  Transformative Experiences
  • Intersections of Science, Technology and Culture

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture Seminar

  • Visual Storytelling in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Discovery Place’s website Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture’s website