Teacher Talks

Learning  |   Educating  |  Delivering

There’s incredible power in sharing ideas and experiences. James Ford, a former CMS teacher and 2014 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, knew this when he proposed the idea of TED-like talks by and for CMS teachers.  Based on James’ idea and inspired by the world-renowned talks shared by TED, Teacher Talks provides CMS teachers with both a platform and forum to exchange ideas, share experiences and inspire each other as they nurture talent and cultivate the minds of tomorrow.


Join us for the Teacher Talks 2019 Live Event

Our 2019 live event will be Tuesday, March 19 in McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. This event is free and open to the public; however, attendees are asked to register for tickets due to limited seating availability.  Doors open at 5:30 PM with talks beginning at 6:15 PM

Register for tickets here.


Recent Teacher Talks

Check out the talks from our 2018 live event.

Click on the title of the talk to enlarge the video.

Connecting with Nature: Learning in the Outdoor Classroom

Charlotte Fletcher

How often do we walk through nature without appreciating its power and all that it can teach us? In this talk, Charlotte Fletcher discusses the importance of connecting students to nature and explains how educators can use the outdoor classroom. Charlotte is the Experiential Science Curriculum Assistant at Park Road Montessori in Charlotte, NC.

Lessons I’ve Learned

Danny Jarrett

Students can be the greatest teachers. During his 18-year teaching career, former high school social studies teacher Danny Jarrett has learned important lessons from his students about the power of building caring relationships. In this gripping talk, Danny shares stories of students who helped him become a better teacher and explains how building relationships in the classroom can be life saving.

Back On Track

Kelsey Anselmi

Teaching in a school that didn’t have textbooks forced Kelsey Anselmi to learn new teaching strategies, and a product suggestion on Amazon changed the way she saw the education system. In this thought-provoking talk, Kelsey challenges school systems to rethink the traditional model of tracking and view every student as a high achiever. She teaches math at Crestdale Middle School in Matthews, NC.

Reinvent Your Routine

Kevin Brawley

After a career in music, Kevin Brawley decided to become a teacher. A few years in, he found himself growing comfortable in his teaching role and was disturbed by the predictability of his routine. A lesson learned from a legendary drummer forever changed the way he approached his work. Kevin now asks, “What if the routine never became routine?” and challenges us to never let good enough be good enough. Kevin teaches music at Torrence Creek Elementary in Huntersville, NC.

We C.A.N. be the Refuge

Alisha Escobar

For many students new to the U.S., not understanding English can make the journey toward the American dream feel like a nightmare. As a teacher of English language learners, Alisha Escobar understands the challenges facing these students as well as the educators who teach them. In this talk, Alisha reassures teachers that they C.A.N. be a refuge for their students, even when language may be a barrier. Alisha is a spoken word artist and teaches at Druid Hills Academy in Charlotte, NC.

Teacher Talks 2018 Live Event

Previous Talks

Grit: Passion and Perseverance

Katie Weed

When Katie Weed was 18, doctors discovered a lemon-sized tumor in her brain that would change the course of her life. Inspired by Angela Duckworth’s book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Katie explains the power of saying “Yes, I will try,” and encourages educators to nurture passion and perseverance in their students. Katie is now a Talent Development teacher at Park Road Montessori in Charlotte, NC.

Independent Learners in the Classroom

Mary Soliman

Teachers light the way, but they should not be the sole source of illumination in the classroom. Mary Soliman argues that teachers must help students become independent learners so that students can manage their own learning and be better prepared to respond to challenges. Mary is a mathematics teachers at South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, NC.

Creating Active and Healthy Schools

Doug Smith

Physical activity not only supports a healthy body, it also stimulates the brain and has a positive impact on learning. Physical Education teacher Doug Smith challenges teachers to incorporate more physical activity into the classroom and to rethink the role of physical activity in education. Doug teaches at McKee Road Elementary in Charlotte, NC.

I Teach Screenagers

Melissa Ligh

Technology has become an integral part of everyday life and has changed the way students learn. In this talk, Melissa Ligh discusses the “screenager” and encourages teachers to embrace technology in the classroom. Melissa is an English teacher at North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville, NC.

Finding Your Joy in Education

Peter Panico

For Peter Panico, building a strong support network helped him find joy in teaching. In this talk, Peter shares his experience of becoming a Discovery Educator and encourages others to find community in education. Peter is a fifth grade teacher at Rama Road Elementary in Charlotte, NC.

Light in the Heart

Jordan Todd

In education, doing the “head work” is important, but it’s the “heart work” that can really change lives. Jordan Todd explains why she teaches and what can happen when educators become a light in the hearts of their students. Jordan was named Teacher of the Year for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 2016. She now teaches third grade at Idlewild Elementary in Charlotte, NC.