Center for American Progress

NEW DATE: In Charlotte, Lawmakers, Teachers, and Education Leaders to Call for Modernizing and Elevating Teaching Profession
Press Advisory

NEW DATE: In Charlotte, Lawmakers, Teachers, and Education Leaders to Call for Modernizing and Elevating Teaching Profession

**New Date, Time, and Speakers—Rescheduled from January 25 to February 17*

Charlotte, NC — On Wednesday, February 17, the TeachStrong campaign—a diverse coalition of more than 55 leading education organizations and teachers—will bring together North Carolina Democratic and Republican lawmakers, teachers, and education leaders to spark a conversation on how to modernize and elevate the teaching profession in the state.

The event, which will kick off with opening remarks from Charlotte Mayor Jennifer W. Roberts, will feature a moderated discussion between North Carolina state Rep. Tricia Cotham (D) and North Carolina state Rep. Craig Horn (R), followed by a panel of local teachers and education leaders to discuss ways North Carolina can address the pressing needs of teachers and why it is critical that national, state, and local leaders—including presidential candidates from both political parties—bring focus to this issue in 2016.

TeachStrong brings together a group of more than 55 diverse stakeholders around a set of nine policy principles that span a teacher’s entire career—from preparation to new teacher support, increasing pay, and establishing career ladders.

TeachStrong’s message is especially relevant in North Carolina. In the Charlotte area, nearly 1,000 teachers resigned before the 2015 school year, and the state has seen a 20 percent drop in enrollment in teacher preparation programs over the last three years.



Erica Jordan-Thomas, New Leader Principal, Ranson IB Middle School

Opening remarks:

Jennifer W. Roberts, Mayor of Charlotte, NC

Discussion with legislators:

North Carolina State Rep. Tricia Cotham (D), Vice Chairperson of the Education K-12 House Standing Committee

Rep. Cotham was twice recognized as Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Teacher of the Year.

North Carolina State Rep. Craig Horn (R), Chairman of the Education K-12 House Standing Committee and Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee on Education

Discussion moderator:

Alison Welcher, Director of School Leadership, Project L.I.F.T, and New Leader Principal, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools


Erin Burns, Biology Multi-Classroom Leader II

Burns is a Biology Multi-Classroom Leader at West Charlotte High School.

Erlene Lyde, President of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators

Lyde is a Chemistry I and IB Diploma Chemistry teacher at West Charlotte High School.

James Ford, 2014 North Carolina State Teacher of the Year

Ford was a high school teacher at Garinger High School but now works with Public Forum as a Program Director.

Joanna Schimizzi, National Board Certified Teacher, M.Ed, Lead Fellow, America Achieves

Schimizzi is a 10th grade biology teacher with North Carolina Virtual Public Schools and previously served as a 10th grade biology teacher at Independence High School.

Discussion moderator:

Lisette Partelow, Director of Teacher Policy, Center for American Progress


TeachStrong Discussion and Panel Event


Ranson Middle School

5850 Statesville Road

Charlotte, NC 28269


Wednesday, February 17, 2016
6:00 p.m. ET–8:00 p.m. ET


Members of the media may RSVP to [email protected]