The World Affairs Council of Charlotte is proud to recognize recipients of the 2016-2017 Council Scholar Award. This program is generously supported by the following WACC Ambassador Education Partners: Wells Fargo, Carolinas HealthCare System, Bank of America, and UNC Charlotte.
The $2500 grant is presented annually to outstanding educators in recognition of their commitment to international education in the greater Charlotte area.
As a Council Scholar, recipients may use the grant to participate in international conferences, study abroad programs, language classes or other eligible international education opportunities abroad. Past Council Scholars have been able to bring back new perspectives, which in turn have enriched and enhanced the classroom experience.
There are more than 100 scholars representing over 30 schools in the greater Charlotte region.
Aimy Shantell La’Nae Steele will travel to Costa Rica & Nicaragua as part of a professional development trip sponsored by Worldview in partnership with Immersion Abroad. She will spend nine days visiting local schools, participating in discussions with local teachers, volunteering with community service projects, and taking part in a Spanish for Educators language course and ecological expeditions. As a fluent Spanish speaker, Aimy hopes to become more proficient in Latin American culture as her school consists of more than 30 percent Latino students.
With nine years of teaching and administrative experience, Aimy holds a B.A. in Spanish and K-12 Education and an M.A. in School Administration, both degrees from UNC Charlotte. She is currently in the dissertation phase of completing her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Urban Education at UNC Charlotte.
Andrew Shimko will travel to Barcelona, Spain where he will immerse himself in an intensive two-week Spanish course at the Ole Spanish School through classroom work and group meet-ups. After spending two weeks in Barcelona, Andrew will travel to Madrid where he will have the opportunity to compare the Spanish cultures of Barcelona and Madrid while also strengthening his Spanish communication skills. As a science teacher, Andrew focuses on merging international events with the global impact of science and technology. In learning Spanish, Andrew’s capability to strengthen his interactions with students and their families will prove invaluable as a teacher and coach at Independence High School.
With five years of teaching experience, Andrew holds degrees in biology and German from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Debra Semmler will attend the 2017 Solar Conference hosted by the Rwanda Development Board in Kigali, Rwanda in July 2017. While attending the conference, Debra will formalize the connections between STEM and IB programs in schools in Charlotte and Rwanda. Debra’s passion for this connection began in the summer of 2015 when she visited East Africa and realized that science educators can deliver a specialized academy-style experience cross-culturally. She’s continued to communicate with educators in Rwanda as well as encourage her students in the IB program to create and develop globally-oriented project ideas.
With 25 years teaching experience, Debra holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida and an M.S. in Engineering from UNC Charlotte. She also co-founded and co-leads the East Mecklenburg High School Global Immersion Steering Team, which invites educators who actively seek opportunities to learn about the benefits of creating worldwide connections in the classroom.
Natalie Jones will travel to Cusco, Peru where she will volunteer for two months at the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales des Cusco (CTTC). Here, she will learn about different textile and weaving techniques as well as enhance her photography skills. Natalie will also be staying with a Peruvian family, allowing her to utilize and strengthen her Spanish language skills. As a volunteer in the education department at CTTC, Natalie will be photographing the annual festival in June and working in the center’s administrative office helping to prepare for the Young Weavers Gathering. Natalie’s experience in Peru will positively impact her interactions and relationships with her students through language and culture. Her goal upon completing this volunteer experience is to create and develop Spanish cultural programs at West Charlotte Senior High School.
With six years of teaching experience, Natalie holds a B.A. from Norfolk University and an M.A. from Ohio State University.
Casey Shirey will travel to Soria, Spain where she will be attending the III International Colloquium on Languages, Cultures, Identity in School & Society organized by Loyola University. While attending the colloquium, Casey will gain useful knowledge to help hone her professional skills as they relate to students in both ESL and Spanish classrooms as well as reinforce her own Spanish language skills. Casey believes that the strongest bonds come from a place of common understanding and by traveling to Spain, she will better understand her students and their families at Jay M. Robinson High School.
With seven years of teaching experience, Casey holds a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in Athletic Training from Western Carolina University, and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Universidad de Jaen. She also taught English as a second language in Peru and Costa Rica.
Jo Ellen Malveaux will travel to Ecuador where she will participate in the Ecuador Professional Preparation Program (EPPP). Here, Jo Ellen hopes to build a better understanding of Spanish-language speakers, gain confidence in speaking Spanish, acquire knowledge of Spanish culture, and advance her comprehension of psychological and educational practices in Ecuador. Upon returning home from Ecuador, Jo Ellen hopes to work more closely with the Spanish families of Collinswood Language Academy.
With over nine years of experience, Jo Ellen holds a B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University, an M.Ed in School Psychology from Columbia University, and an M.A. in School Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Charlotte Curry McGhee will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where she will spend two weeks of intensive language study at Caminhos Language Centre. While in Brazil, Charlotte will study Portuguese in a small-class setting for four hours a day. In addition to her classes, Charlotte plans to stay with a host family, giving her the opportunity to immerse herself in the language and put into practice what she learns in the classroom. She will also be working with Caminhos to contact local schools so she can better understand the school system in Brazil. Upon completion of the language study and her return home, Charlotte will continue developing “Estamos Unidos” (We Are United), a program she developed to help immigrant families during the transition of moving to a different country and new school.
With six years of teaching experience, Charlotte holds a B.A. in International Studies from Elon University and an M.A. in Spanish Literature, Language and Culture from UNC Charlotte.
Suzanne Feinstein will travel to Costa Rica & Nicaragua as part of a professional development trip sponsored by World View. With Kensington Elementary School’s new Global Initiative, this trip will help Suzanne bring a global view to the classroom as well as provide her with the opportunity to immerse herself in the Spanish language and compare Costa Rican and Nicaraguan school systems. Upon completion of the program, Suzanne plans to arrange the fifth-grade science curriculum around the richness of Costa Rica and Nicaragua’s resources and ecosystems.With seven years teaching experience, Suzanne holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from State College of New York at Oneonta and a M.Ed Reading Specialist from Rutgers University.
Christina Roth will attend the 2017 World Gifted Conference: Global Perspectives in Gifted Education in Sydney, Australia this summer. Upon completion of the conference, Christina will observe gifted education classrooms with the opportunity to co-teach several lessons in the local Sydney school district. Christina’s focus will be on “building a stronger parent support network for gifted students, as well as increasing the level of diversity in our gifted and talented population” at Oaklawn Language Academy.
With 17 years of teaching experience, Christina holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and an M.Ed. in Reading and Literacy from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She also has certifications in AIG and ESL (K-12), and is nationally certified as a middle childhood education generalist.
Lucinda A. Shelton
South Mecklenburg High School
Lucinda Shelton will participate in an Oxford Short Course as well as attend The National Society for Education in Art & Design Conference in the United Kingdom in June and July 2017. The conference helps art educators develop strategies and leadership skills to manage an art department, while the Oxford Course introduces the study of archaeology and museums. Together, Lucinda will gain an inclusive educational experience that will enhance the art department and enrich the students’ art curriculum at South Mecklenburg High School.
With six years of teaching experience, Lucinda holds a B.A. in English Literature & Language and a B.A. in Studio Art from UNC Wilmington, and a B.S. in Art Education Teaching Certification K-12 from Appalachian State University.