Kenan Fellows Program Unites with Charlotte-area Partners to Create STEM Teacher Leader Cluster

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Seven Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) educators have been selected for the prestigious Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership and will bring career connected learning back to their classrooms, after a three-week summer internship in local industries. The eight teachers come from five STEM magnet elementary schools and are forming a Teacher Leader Cluster (TLC).

The CMS teacher leaders are among 27 Kenan Fellows from across the state who have been awarded 2017-18 fellowships through N.C. State University. The teachers will intern this summer in local businesses to make connections between knowledge and skills taught in schools to those practiced in the workplace. They will be paired with experts in local industries including energy, telecommunications, engineered entertainment, and automation and high-tech manufacturing. The internship is the centerpiece of the program and is supported by 80 hours of professional development that focuses on building leadership skills and instructional strategies for integrating data literacy, and digital and project-based learning.

“CMS students will, no doubt, benefit when the Kenan Fellows bring their industry experiences and connections to the classroom,” said Johanna Anderson, Executive Director of The Belk Foundation. “The Kenan Fellows Program in CMS promotes career-connected learning, a key recommendation for improving life trajectories from the recent Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force report.”

Developing high-quality co-curricular learning resources at the four STEM magnet schools during the 2017-18 school year is a key district-wide need, identified by CMS. In 2018-19, the teacher leaders will disseminate the resources across all of the elementary schools. The CMS TLC is made possible through the generous support of the many corporate, education and foundation partners including lead sponsorship by The Belk Foundation and CMS.

“This project enhances the leadership capacity of CMS through the development of a strong teacher leadership team that can help advance school and district initiatives,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program.

The eight Kenan Fellows are:

  • Jill Barclay, Winget Park Elementary, who will partner with Morgan Pennetti of Carowinds for a project entitled Learning STEM is Fun.
  • Philip Carey, Oakhurst STEAM Academy, who will partner with Clifton Vann of Hyde Park Partners for a project entitled Providing Students with the STEM Advantage.
  • Michelle McElhiney, Oakhurst STEAM Academy, who will partner with Jess George of Google Fiber for a project entitled Building Community Through Cyber and Fiber.
  • Emily Warnke, Winget Park Elementary, and Christina Melton, Paw Creek Elementary, who will partner with Dawn Braswell of Siemens for a project entitled Engaging Energetically With Students.
  • Scott Woodard, Morehead STEM Academy and Cassie Webb, Paw Creek Elementary, who will partner with Mark Rohlinger of Bosch Rexroth for a project entitled Driving Students Toward Increased STEM Knowledge.


About the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership: The Kenan Fellows Program is funded by the generous support of its many corporate, education and foundation sponsors. Established in 2000, the program is a K-12 education initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University, and is the largest (science, technology, engineering and math) STEM-focused teacher leadership program in North Carolina. Visit to learn more.

About The Belk Foundation: The Belk Foundation is a Charlotte-based family foundation that supports public education by strengthening teachers and school leaders, and ensuring that students are achieving on or above grade level by the third grade. Now in its fourth generation of family leadership, The Belk Foundation serves as the public expression of gratitude and commitment shown by the family that created the Belk department store organization. The Belk Foundation had assets of more than $50 million as of March 31, 2017. Since 2000, The Belk Foundation has distributed more than $46 million to charities across the Southeast. More information is available at