Meet 18 Charlotte Women Teaching the Next Generation of Leaders

This article is sponsored by Charlotte Radiology Breast Services.

In this series, sponsored by Charlotte Radiology Breast Services, we highlight local women in various industries who are going above and beyond in their careers, passions, and paths in Charlotte. From artists to CEOs to our nonprofit warriors, women in Charlotte have proven time and time again that they are leaders in their respective fields. 

For this article, we are highlighting some of the hardest working women in Charlotte – our teachers. These women go above and beyond to prepare lesson plans, to provide additional instruction when needed, and to guide and educate our children. They work long hours and sometimes weekends, but what keeps them going are the kids. 

They are making a difference in the lives of countless future leaders of our city, state, and nation. There are so many to mention, so this is just a sampling of the stellar teachers making the future stars of the Queen City and beyond that much brighter. Here are 18 of the standout teachers in Charlotte and surrounding areas. 

Please note this list does not reflect all of the incredible teachers in Charlotte and surrounding areas. It is just a sampling based on our research, as well as reader submissions. Please add yourself or other women you admire in the COMMENTS section below, so all can see and support.

[ A special thank you to those readers who nominated the teachers they admire and wanted recognized ]

Jessica Cheek, Hawthorne Academy 

Jessica Cheek is a biology teacher at Hawthorne Academy. In 2018, Jessica was the L.E.A.D. Learning Community Teacher of the Year. A Charlotte native and a graduate of CMS, Jessica has been referred to as a hidden gem for her commitment to her students and her persistence on their behalf. 

Liliet Council, Hidden Valley Elementary School

Liliet Council is the media specialist for Hidden Valley Elementary School. Liliet focuses on making the printed word come alive for her students. For her efforts of inspiring a life-long love of reading for her students, she was named the 2018 Northeast Learning Community Teacher of the Year. 

Lysa Craig, Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy

Lysa Craig is a third-grade teacher at Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy. Before her current role, Lysa taught at CMS for over 30 years at Huntersville and Cornelius Elementary Schools. In 2013, she was a finalist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Teacher of the Year. She is known for her personality, her smile, and her love for her students.

Jahara Davis, Wilson STEM Academy 

Jahara Davis teaches language arts at Wilson STEM Academy. Formerly an English 1 and Literature & Film teacher at West Charlotte High School, Jahara was the 2018 Project LIFT community Teacher of the Year.

Susan Guilfoyle, Reedy Creek Elementary School

Susan Guilfoyle teaches fourth grade at Reedy Creek Elementary School. Susan has been a teacher for almost 30 years and in 2018 was selected as the East Learning Community Teacher of the Year.

April Johnson, Tuckaseegee Elementary School

Tuckaseegee Elementary School art teacher and alum (she attended fourth and fifth grade here) April Johnson was selected as the 2018 CMS Teacher of the Year. April, a graduate of the Northwest School of the Arts, teaches kindergarten through fifth-grade and tries to instill a love of art and creativity in all of her students.

Precious Kotte, Metro School 

Precious Kotte teaches 18 to 22-year-old students with severe autism at the Metro School.  Kotte is known for her positive energy and interactive style of teaching. She focuses on integrating brain-body behavior and movement as tools to teach her students. In 2019 she was a finalist for the CMS Teacher of the Year award.

Laura Korkowski, Charlotte Latin School 

Laura Korkowski teaches fifth grade at Charlotte Latin School. Prior to teaching at Charlotte Latin, Laura was a fifth-grade math and science teacher at Ballantyne Elementary School where she earned the Teacher of the Year designation in 2017. She is known for taking the time and energy to get to know her students and what makes each of them “tick”. 

Julia Lathan, Randolph Middle School

Julia Lathan teaches chorus and handbells for grades sixth through eighth at Randolph Middle School. In 2018 she was selected as Randolph Middle School’s Teacher Of The Year, as well as the Learning Community Teacher of the Year by CMS. Julia’s teaching career began at the Northwest School of the Arts. She is an advocate for arts and arts education.

Cara Mitchell, Alexander Graham Middle School

Cara Mitchell has taught eighth-grade math at Alexander Graham Middle School for 12 years. She is known for going out of her way to help students both in and outside of her classroom, and even serves as a tutor.

Sarah Patterson, Cornelius Elementary School

Sarah Patterson is a fifth-grade math and science teacher at Cornelius Elementary School.  In 2018, Susan was named both the Cornelius Elementary School and the North Learning Community Teacher of the Year. She is known for finding fun and engaging ways to make math and science fun and understandable for her students.

Cherelle Phelps, West Charlotte High School

Cherelle Phelps teaches English 2 at West Charlotte High School. In 2019, Cherelle received the Central 1 Project LIFT Learning Community and West Charlotte High School Teacher of the Year 2019 designations. She is known for making English an approachable subject and helping students not only understand the significance of this subject but how it applies to their lives.

Nancy Pursley, Huntersville Elementary School

Nancy Pursley was the 2019 Northwest Learning Community and Huntersville Elementary. Pursley teaches special education at Huntersville Elementary and is known for her strong belief that all children can learn and her commitment to meeting students where they are and helping them excel.

Kim Schick, Dilworth Elementary School

Kim Schick teaches talent development at Dilworth Elementary. Although she primarily works with second – fifth grades, Kim works to best meet the needs of all students. Kim has also started, developed, and coached the Robotics and Odyssey of the Mind and Math Olympiad teams at Dilworth Elementary.

Alicianna Smith, Stoney Creek Elementary

Alicianna Smith is a second-grade teacher at Stoney Creek Elementary. She is known to bring guest speakers into her classroom to talk to her students about their careers and life experiences. Alicianna strives to ensure that her students are engaged with their classwork, yet take time to dream big and prepare for their futures.

Kimberly Tuttle, Levine Middle College High

Kimberly Tuttle was selected as th 2019 CMS Teacher of the Year. Kimberly teaches 11th-grade English Honors and Advanced Placement Language and Composition at Levine Middle College High. She began her teaching career 20 years ago at West Charlotte High, and at the end of her first year, she was named CMS New Teacher of the Year.

Nikki Warren, St. Gabriel Catholic School

Nikki Warren is a third-grade teacher at St. Gabriel Catholic School. She is known to be innovative and to make her students excited about learning. She has created her own “Warren Mart” where students learn responsibility and math while earning debits and credits for good work and behavior.

Meagan Whetzel, Elizabeth Lane Elementary School

Meagan Whetzel teaches third grade at Elizabeth Lane Elementary School. Meagan is known for her warmth and for her focus on reading and literacy. She strives to create an environment where learning is fun for her students.

This series, brought to you by Charlotte Radiology Breast Centers, highlights the Charlotte Women making our community the vibrant, growing, exciting place they’ve been calling home for 50 years. At Charlotte Radiology, they know women, seeing over 100,000 women a year for their breast health needs. The professionals at Charlotte Radiology believe the key to beating and detecting breast cancer early is annual mammograms starting at age 40.