The Office of School and Community Partnerships provides support services to education candidates for clinical and internship experiences in local schools, districts, and agencies. By fostering collaborative relationships between the Cato College of Education, surrounding schools, public agencies, and the community, the Office of School and Community Partnerships seeks to enrich the experience of our pre-service educators and faculty. Our office works in collaboration with faculty, public and private agencies, and the community to coordinate long-term partnerships that enrich and enhance our program to ensure equity, excellence, and engagement.

Congratulations to the FALL 2023 Student Teacher of the Year!

Tori Smith – Fall 2023 Student Teacher of the Year

Tori Smith is an Elementary Education resident candidate who completed student teaching at Pinewood Elementary in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. As a resident, Tori completed student teaching while balancing the unique demands of being a full-time teacher and a student in the graduate certificate program here at UNC Charlotte. In the words of her Principal, Natashia Pegram, “It is evident that she is truly called to be a teacher. She establishes authentic, positive, and supportive rapport with her students…She is hardworking, persevering, and committed to giving her students and team whatever they need to be successful. She is a model for her fellow teachers, students, and families on how to continue to go after a personal goal and continue to develop in her craft.”

We are proud of Tori and are delighted to have her representing the Cato College of Education as our Fall 2023 Student Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations to the Spring 2023 Outstanding Clinical Educator!

Justin Armstrong

Carmel Middle School: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

On Thursday, April 27 the Cato College of Education presented Justin Armstrong, a special education teacher at Carmel Middle School in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, with the Spring 2023 Outstanding Clinical Educator Award. Mr. Armstrong was nominated by Drs. Ann Jolly and Jared Thompson. Dr. Thompson is the principal at Carmel Middle School and Dr. Jolly is the University Supervisor to Mr. Armstrong’s student teacher.

Dr. Thompson and Dr. Jolly had this to say about Mr. Armstrong:

“Justin Armstrong has been phenomenal in coaching his student teacher as a sixth grade Exceptional Children’s teacher. Additionally, and just as important, it’s been amazing to witness Mr. Armstrong model how he advocates for students and differentiates support based upon individual need. The warmth, compassion, empathy, and collaboration that Mr. Armstrong models is an invaluable experience for someone transitioning into a career in education.”

“Beginning with the initial meeting and continuing throughout the semester, Mr. Armstrong provided the student teacher with a variety of experiences, in pull-out and co-taught settings. Mr. Armstrong welcomed a student teaching candidate with strong content knowledge and experience tutoring into his classroom and helped his candidate learn how to use these assets as a special education teacher.”


Congratulations to John Calabrese, a Social Studies Resident candidate at Northwest Cabarrus High School, for his selection as a North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) 2024 Empower NC Beginning Teacher of the Year Award Finalist! This competitive and prestigious award honors the exceptional work of beginning teachers across North Carolina, and we are proud to have John representing the Cato College of Education as a finalist for this award.

John Calabrese holding the NCCAT BTOY Finalist Award