Category Archives: News

CTI News News

CTI Announces 2021 Seminars

With the new year comes new seminars! In 2021 we will have eight seminars covering a wide range of topics. The names of the Seminars, Leaders, and Coordinators are listed below:

Southern Children’s Literature in the Classroom
Leader: Mark West, Ph.D., English, UNC Charlotte
Coordinator: Shannon McFarland, Language Arts, Alexander Graham Middle

Using Digital Mapping to Study History, Race, and Gentrification
Leader: Brandon Lunsford, University Archives, Johnson C. Smith University
Coordinator: Kimberly Palmer, English, Merancas Middle College High

Addressing Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health in the Classroom
Leader: Zinobia Bennefield, Ph.D., Sociology, UNC Charlotte
Coordinator: Caroline Demmett, Kindergarten, Selwyn Elementary

Embodied Teaching and Learning
Leader: Marissa Nesbit, Ph.D., Dance, UNC Charlotte
Coordinator: Beth Kerr, 1st Grade, Bain Elementary

Climate Refugee Stories
Leader: Tina Shull, Ph.D., History, UNC Charlotte
Coordinator: Angela Walker, English, West Charlotte High

The Philosophical Foundations of Education
Leader: Mark Sanders, Ph.D., Philosophy, UNC Charlotte
Coordinator: Dalton Cooper, Math, West Charlotte High

“Oh My, Aren’t You Wearing Some Nice Plastic!”: The Chemistry and Culture of Black Women’s Hair
Leader: Tracy Brown-Fox, Ph.D., Chemistry, Johnson C. Smith University
Coordinator: Tim Wells, World History, Mallard Creek High

The Essential Peace: Innovating and Integrating Action Peacebuilding in the Classroom
Leader: Patricia Shafer, Senior Fellow for Peace Education, Alliance for Peacebulding
Coordinator: Esther Alcamo, Music, Collingswood Language Academy


CTI News News

CTI Leaders Celebrate 2020 Fellows at Finale Event

CTI celebrated its 2020 Fellows’ achievements during the Fellows’ Finale Celebration on a Zoom Webinar with live presenters at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art on December 10, 2020. 95 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers were recognized as Fellows for successfully completing CTI seminars and designing engaging new curricula for their students.

See their Engaging New Curricula Published on the CTI Website

2020 Presenters at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art (From Left to Right): Zachary Stanford, Scott Gartlan, Elizabeth Haynes, Teresa Strohl, Matthew Kelly, Carla Aaron-Lopez, Kimberly Palmer, Adriana Medina, Jasmine Dozier, Megan Koransky

The evening began with a welcome from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston, saying: “I would like to share my most heartfelt congratulations to YOU, our 2020 Charlotte Teachers Institute Fellows. The Charlotte Teachers Institute has proven to be a truly innovative partnership among CMS, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Johnson C. Smith University and it represents the good that can happen when our educators and this community focus on the most important part of quality learning, the teacher. That is what makes CTI unique, that it’s lead by you, the teachers. Your experience, your knowledge, and your passion is what drives this program, and that in turn gets back to our classrooms where children of all ages can benefit.”

The Fellows were also welcomed live in the Webinar by Chief Academic Officer, Brian Kingsley, as well as with videos from the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UNCC, Nancy Gutierrez, and the Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at JCSU, Matt DeForrest.

In an anonymous survey of all 95 Fellows, 99% indicated they had gained knowledge and skills to positively impact their teaching. Fellows’ curriculum units are posted on the CTI website where they can be accessed by other teachers worldwide.

CTI Director Scott Gartlan applauded Fellows at the Finale event saying, “Together, as 95 Fellows, you have taught more than 11,000 PreK-12 students in 52 CMS schools this year. Together, you have taught for an average of 12 years, and plan to teach for an average of 10 more. That means collectively you have taught for 1,145 years, and plan to teach for 900 more. Together, you embody the dedication and commitment to teaching and learning we expect of our students and colleagues.”

The 2020 CTI Fellows represent grade levels preK-12 with 37 Elementary, 18 Middle, and 40 High School teachers. These teachers cover a wide range of subjects from language arts, world history, foreign languages and art, to math, sciences, technology, and more.

Each Fellow who completed all program requirements received three continuing education units and a $1,500 stipend.

CTI presents eight, concurrent seminars each year, running April to December. CTI Fellows have created over 700 curriculum units since the program’s inception in 2009.

See the full list of 2020 CTI Fellows and their seminars.

CTI News

CTI Welcomes Outstanding 2020 Fellows

CTI welcomed 104 outstanding and irrepressible Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers to our new cohort of 2020 CTI Fellows this Spring (see the full list of Fellows here). These 104 Fellows represent 55 different CMS schools, average 11.3 years of teaching experience, and teach 12,418 students in grades PreK-12.

Pressing on in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the committed support of CTI’s educational partners and teacher leadership, CTI is using new formats to host our eight seminars. Each seminar group includes one university professor and 13 teachers representing grades PreK-12 who collaborate together long-term, focusing on a particular topic from April through November.

The university faculty serving as this year’s Seminar Leaders include five professors from UNC Charlotte and two from Johnson C. Smith University, with seminars center on these topics:

Illuminate Yourself! The Science of Glow seminar’s Zoom meeting May 14

Due to COVID-19, seminars have been conducted virtually this Spring with Seminar Leaders and Fellows eager to collaborate online and begin their energizing topic explorations and curriculum development together — even after their already full days of adapting to online teaching with their own students. We are inspired by their dedication to teaching, especially as they go above and beyond to design new approaches to support and expand their students’ learning!

The Spring seminar schedule included an orientation meeting, three seminar meetings, campus connection events at both JCSU and UNCC, as well as organizational meetings and informal dinner gatherings — all held virtually. Next up is the Prospectus Writing and Research Zoom Jam on Saturday, May 30, where Fellows can discuss their budding curriculum ideas and get research support from JCSU and UNCC librarians.

Please join us in congratulating and celebrating these exceptional teachers and their exceptional seminar leaders!

Urban Waterways: Problems & Opportunities seminar’s Zoom meeting May 14
African American Poetry and the Idea of Citizenship seminar’s GoogleMeet meeting May 14
CTI News News

CTI Celebrates 2019 Fellows and Their New Curricula

See their Engaging New Curricula Published on the CTI Website

CTI celebrated its 2019 Fellows’ achievements during the Fellows’ Finale Celebration at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in December. 88 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers were recognized as Fellows for successfully completing CTI seminars and designing engaging new curricula for their students.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston welcomed Fellows, Leaders and guests to Fellows’ Finale, saying: “I want to thank CTI for the tremendous partnership. As I spoke with our teachers this evening one thing was extremely clear to me: how much you all love this program. I heard, ‘This program helps me build my capacity,’ and ‘It allows me to strengthen my profession so that ultimately our children are the beneficiaries of this work.’”

In an anonymous survey of all 88 Fellows, 100% indicated they had gained knowledge and skills to positively impact their teaching. Fellows’ curriculum units are posted on the CTI website where they can be accessed by other teachers worldwide.

CTI Director Scott Gartlan applauded Fellows at the Finale event saying, “Together, as 88 Fellows, you have taught 12,883 PreK-12 students in 50 CMS schools this year. Together, you have amassed a total of 2,253 hours in eight, university professor-led seminars over the course of seven months. Together, you embody the dedication and commitment to teaching and learning we expect of our students and colleagues.”

The 2019 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.

Each Fellow who completed all program requirements received three continuing education units and a $1,500 stipend.

CTI presents eight, concurrent seminars each year, running April to December. CTI Fellows have created over 600 curriculum units since the program’s inception in 2009.

See the full list of 2019 CTI Fellows and their seminars.

View Fellows’ Finale photos.

CTI News News

CMS Teachers Travel South to Learn about America’s Most Important Untold Stories

“We have to come to grips with our own history-not only genocide, slavery, exploitation, and systems of oppression, but also the legacies of those who resisted and fought back and still fight back.”  — Timothy B. Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till

Charlotte Teachers Institute, in partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ (CMS) Office of Diversity and Inclusion, hosted 28 CMS teachers on the trip of a lifetime from June 13 through June 16, 2019.  Led by Larry Bosc, retired CMS history teacher, this trip gave these teachers a chance to experience essential American history.  Called the Civil Rights (Racial Equity) trip, the teachers visited historic southern cities at the center of the American Civil Rights movement:  Montgomery, AL; Selma, AL; Jackson, MS; and Birmingham, AL.  They toured museums where they learned more about the full narrative of the movement, and visited historical sites where some of America’s most significant historical events occurred.  This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these teachers.  Below is a summary of the trip by Larry Bosc:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  James Baldwin

The trip began with a visit to Montgomery and the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice.  In both places the history of slavery, racial terrorism and mass incarceration are movingly illustrated and, as Baldwin said, force us to face America’s past.  It was helpful when we visited other civil rights sites in Montgomery that joining us on this trip was civil rights activist George Shinhoster.  He shared some of those experiences with our group on the bus down and while in Montgomery.

Leaving Montgomery the next day we traveled to Selma where teachers went to the starting point of the Voting Rights March (Brown Chapel AME Church) and walked across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of Bloody Sunday. 

Our next stop was Jackson, Mississippi, where we visited the home of Medger Evers-civil rights activist whose murder in 1963 provided more impetus for the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act the next year.  As Tyson said, our guide Minnie Watson, told us of the “legacy” of this remarkable person.who “resisted and fought back” against oppression.  After that we went to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.  The teachers I talked to were as impressed as I was on my first visit there last November and equally moved by the special slavery exhibit “The Spirits of the Passage.”

Our visit to the Mississippi Delta and sites connected to the murder of Emmett Till the next day was truly memorable.  As Tim Tyson says in his The Blood of Emmett Till, this event was central to the generation of civil rights activists who were coming of age in the mid to late 1950’s.  The “children of Emmett Till” were Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Muhammed Ali, Richard Hatcher and more, and our trip to the rural communities of Glendora and Sumner brought home to all the teachers the importance of this event.  They were even allowed to sit in the judges chair and jury seats in the courthouse where the trial of Till’s murderers took place. 

Our final day was busy with a visit to the childhood home of Angela Davis on “dynamite hill”, a trip to Birmingham civil rights hero Fred Shuttlesworth’s Bethel Ave. church (bombed multiple times in the late 1950’s and early 60’s), a guided tour of Kelly Ingram Park, and a moving church service at the 16th Street Baptist church.  After a tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute we headed back to Charlotte-tired but immeasurably more informed than when we began.

As I said after the last CTI and CMS sponsored trip to Alabama, I was so energized by this trip that I almost wish I was back in the classroom so that I could bring the excitement and information I learned back to my students.  I know that will be evident when the teachers gather at our debriefing session on August 3.  That is why I continue to organize these trips because I know being there means so much more to the study and teaching of this seminal period in American history. 

2018 News Vol 4: Writing about Our Lives

Connecting Feelings and Memories

Meghan Felix, K-2, Oakhurst STEAM Academy

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


read more »

CTI News News

CTI Fellows Present New Curricula at National Council on Black Studies Conference in New Orleans

CTI Fellows presented new curricula they developed at the National Council on Black Studies (NCSB) Conference in New Orleans, March 6-9, 2019. The five Fellows, joined by CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Director of Diversity and Inclusion Chiquitha Lloyd, included:

  • Larry Bosc, American History Teacher (retired), East Mecklenburg High School
  • Eli Davis, Special Education, Lincoln Heights Academy
  • Latonda Mitchell, 5th Grade, Mountain Island Lake Academy
  • Eboné Lockett, English, Cato Middle College High School
  • Roshan R. Varghese, American History, Butler High School

Their roundtable panel’s abstract below provides an overview of their group presentation. Each member of the panel also provided individual presentations at the conference.

Traveling to Montgomery from Charlotte: Educators Explore A Legacy of Lynching in K-12 Classrooms

In August 2017, a diverse group of 26 Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) teachers attended a presentation and workshop led by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Then Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) offered two seminars for CMS teachers aligned with EJI’s work called “Media and Minorities: Unpacking Stereotypes”, and “Memorials, Memories, and American Identity.” In a culminated trip to Montgomery, AL, the teachers participated in the opening of EJI’s Legacy Museum and the Memorial for Peace and Justice in April 2018. Teachers presented their reflections and new curricula to the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in CMS. This included curriculum innovations in each of their classrooms as well as a workshop for Charlotte-Mecklenburg teachers on implicit bias, which occurred in August 2018. Additionally, planning is underway to include two new curriculum units in all American History II classes in 2020 that focus on both national and local events around 2 key subjects: Jim Crow and the Fight for First Class Citizenship (1876-1953) and The Modern Civil Rights Movement and Beyond: The Fight for Social and Economic Justice (1954-the Present). The panel will discuss these curricular ideas, the implicit bias training for teachers, existing CTI curricula on racial terror lynchings, and efforts in Charlotte-Mecklenburg to collaborate with EJI to bring historical markers and a memorial to commemorate the two documented acts of racial terrorism in Charlotte.

CTI News News

2019 CTI Seminar Applications Open Now – Apply Today!

Applications for the eight new 2019 CTI Seminars are open now until Sunday, March 17, at midnight. All Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers who instruct students full-time are eligible. Here’s where to find info on how to apply.

CTI News News

Teachers Celebrate Curricular Accomplishments at 2018 Fellows’ Finale at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

86 Charlotte-Mecklenburg teachers celebrated the completion of the eight 2018 CTI seminars and creation of original curricula for their students on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Take a look at the presentation from that evening to see pictures of teachers in seminars, learn more about 2019 seminars, and more! See presentation.

Events News

CTI Presents Evening for Educators Oct. 9 at Discovery Place Education Studio

CTI Fellows and teacher researchers will share new curricula they created for their students at CTI’s Evening for Educators event on Tuesday, October 9, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at Discovery Place Education Studio. Teachers and the general public are invited to learn about engaging new teaching ideas created by CMS teachers in their CTI seminars and summer research experiences — and to find out about new CTI seminars for CMS teachers in 2019!

Experience a night of fun and innovative curricula for grades preK-12 in math, science, social studies, the arts and more. Refreshments will be served. Hosted by CTI and Discovery Place Education Studio, it’s all free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Discovery Place Education Studio is located at 300 N. Poplar St. in uptown Charlotte. Register and get more info here.

CTI News Current Events Events

Sept. 6 CTI Reception Features Teacher Researchers

2018 CTI Summer Research Experience for Teachers Reception & Poster Session

  • Thursday, Sept. 6, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

  • New Science Building, Johnson C. Smith University

CTI will showcase CMS teachers’ work on university research projects at a special event on Thursday, Sept. 6, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Johnson C. Smith University’s New Science Building. This 2018 Summer Research Experience for Teachers Reception & Poster Session is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to learn about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers’ summer research in the sciences and humanities with professors at JCSU, UNC Charlotte and Queens University of Charlotte.

Seventeen CMS teachers worked in eight different laboratories and research settings led by university professors. During the Sept. 6 reception, the SRET teachers, professors and graduate assistants will share poster presentations and discuss their unique collaborations and how this research experience translates to their classrooms and their students. Refreshments will be served.

University research faculty leading these collaborative summer research projects included:

  • UNC Charlotte — Dr. Susan Trammell, physics and optical science; David Wilson, computer science; and Janaka Lewis and Alan Rauch, English.
  • JCSU — Dr. Todd Coolbaugh and Dr. Tracy Fox-Brown, chemistry.
  • Queens University — Dr. Aaron Socha, chemistry; and Dr. Scott Weir, biology.

Details about all eight research experiences — spanning areas from cancer detection prototypes, biofuels, toxicology and nanomaterials to digital design, Black girlhood in literature, and Victorians and the natural world – are featured at 2018 SRET.

CTI News

CMS Teachers Journey to Face Legacy of Racial Injustice

“Nothing can be changed until it is faced.” — James Baldwin

Twenty-six CMS teachers traveled far, together, to face America’s legacy of racial injustice revealed through the Equal Justice Initiative’s new Legacy Museum and national memorial to victims of lynching, in Montgomery, AL. Their transformative expedition April 26-28, 2018, to the opening ceremonies of The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, was supported by Charlotte Teachers Institute, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte.

The teachers joined in discussions about the book White Rage by Carol Anderson; visited the EJI memorial and museum and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial; participated in a two-day Peace and Justice Summit; attended the Concert for Peace and Justice (featuring Common and Stevie Wonder); and also visited a lynching memorial in Georgia during their bus ride back to Charlotte.

The teachers’ trip, conceived and organized by former CTI Fellow and East Mecklenburg High History Teacher Larry Bosc, was an outgrowth of an equal justice workshop last summer with EJI, hosted by CTI and the Greenspon Center. Teachers at that workshop heard about plans for the new memorial and museum and were motivated to participate in the opening ceremonies, as well as develop new lessons for their students, based on EJI research and curricula.

EJI’s memorial features over 800 monumental structures, with each one representing a U.S. county where a racial terror lynching occurred, with victims’ names engraved on the columns. The memorial also includes a park hosting a field of identical monuments, with the intention that each one be claimed by their home county to be installed publicly. EJI notes: “Over time, the national memorial will serve as a report on which parts of the country have confronted the truth of this terror and which have not.”

Upon returning to Charlotte, the CMS teacher group committed to begin work to bring to Charlotte the memorial recognizing the two Mecklenburg County lynching victims: Willie McDaniel and Joseph McNeely.

CMS Teachers’ Reflections on their historic journey


Teachers Reflections on Their Historic Journey

 “The Memorial for Peace and Justice was, by far, the most emotional part of our visit. Like many in our group, I began by taking pictures of the lynching memorials of victims in North Carolina, but quickly found that there were so many that it became overwhelming. Getting through that memorial required multiple stops to collect myself. As Selma director Ava DuVerney said after her visit, ‘Every American that believes in justice and dignity must come here.’”

— Larry Bosc, retired history teacher, East Mecklenburg HS

 “‘The assumption of guilt and dangerousness has been assigned to African Americans.’  This was from The Legacy Museum. It made me weep because I have lived this. Not because of me, but through others’ assumptions of me because I am an African American.”

— DeNise Gerst, science teacher, Barringer Academic Center

“‘Ordinary people do extraordinary things,’  from Dr. Shirley Cherry. I’ve made this a mantra for one of my 4th grade girls! The following poem is from the Peace and Justice Memorial. I keep rereading this because it just calls to me. There is an absolute faith that we can and will all learn to speak the truth of what happened to African Americans in our country and what still happens every day.”

— Tracy Kennedy, 4th/5th grade teacher, E.E. Waddell Language Academy

“For the hanged and beaten.

For the shot, drowned and burned.

For the tortured, tormented and terrorized.

For those abandoned by the rule of law.

We will remember.

With hope because hopelessness is the enemy of justice.

With courage because peace requires bravery.

With persistence because justice is a constant struggle.

With faith because we shall overcome.”


26 CMS Teachers Journey to Montgomery, AL

Twenty-six teachers attended the Equal Justice Initiative’s opening ceremonies for the The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The trip was conceived and organized by former East Mecklenburg High School Teacher Larry Bosc. The teachers included:

  • Auset Ari, Reading/Social Studies, Newell Elementary
  • Franchone Bey, English, West Charlotte High
  • Eli Davis, Special Education High School, Lincoln Heights Academy
  • Taylor Elkins, English Language Arts, Ranson Middle
  • Erika Flanagan, Civics/Economics, Independence High
  • Yasmin Forbes, African American Studies/American History II, West Mecklenburg High
  • DeNise Gerst, Science, Barringer Academic Center
  • Mayako Hamrick, Japanese, E.E. Waddell Language Academy
  • Stacey Jarvis, American History, East Mecklenburg High
  • Tracy Kennedy, English/Social Studies, EE Waddell Language Academy
  • Shanique Lee, English, North Mecklenburg High
  • Ebone Lockett, English Language Arts, CATO Middle College High
  • Marielle Matheus, PreK, Pre-K Department
  • Megan McGee, English Language Arts, McClintock Middle
  • Latonda Mitchell, English Language Arts/Social Studies, Mountain Island Lake Academy
  • Lynn Roach, World History, Harding University High
  • Lecia Shockley, 3rd Grade, Selwyn Elementary
  • Nicole Sparrow, AP Language & Composition/English IV, Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences
  • Annette Teasdell, English, North Mecklenburg High
  • Roshan Varghese, American History II/World History, David W. Butler High
  • Robert Walton, EC General Curriculum, Merry Oaks International Academy
  • Torie Wheatley, English, North Mecklenburg High
  • May Winarski, Art, East Mecklenburg High
  • Kathryn Kisner, Social Studies, East Mecklenburg High
  • Paul Arnold, Social Studies, EE Waddell Language Academy
  • Kheiston Tilford, Math and Science, Newell Elementary
CTI News

Ted Miracle’s CU: 3rd grade, identity, and STEM

On March 2, 2018, CTI brought 70 books to Ted Miracle’s classroom at Devonshire Elementary School. Dr. Miracle, one of CTI’s crowdfunding grant recipients, received $500 of books to help implement his CTI-inspired, original curriculum unit, “Living Memorials to Spectacular Scientists, Engineers, and Mathematicians.” Dr. Miracle developed his unit as a 2017 CTI Fellow in the Memorials, Memories, and American Identity seminar.  These 3rd grade students were overjoyed to see these new books donated to their classrooms.  They also had a special visit from CTI Seminar Leader Emily Makas, architectural historian at UNC Charlotte, Scott Gartlan, CTI executive director, and Robin Mara, CTI associate director.  






Through his CTI-inspired curriculum unit, Dr. Miracle seeks to inspire the next generation of scientists by introducing his students to underrepresented (e.g., African-American, Hispanic, female) scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. To do so, his students will read biographies of great leaders in STEM fields. Then, after choosing one especially inspirational to them, the students will research and build a memorial poster that they present to their class.  The goal is to get students excited to excel in school and follow in the footsteps of scientists from long ago.  


This project for 3rd grade students meets a critical need in education today and in the lives of the students in Dr. Miracle’s class. These books feature main characters that represent the diversity of the students in the classroom.  Pursuing a career “in a STEM-related field can be a gateway to economic success”, observed Dr. Miracle. “In short, I think my curriculum unit has the potential to change someone’s life by giving them a vision they may not have otherwise had for themselves.”