Guilford County Schools is the third largest school district in North Carolina serving more than 71,000 students at 121 schools. With approximately 10,000 employees, the district's mission is to graduate responsible citizens prepared to succeed in higher
Panelists: Students and teachers from area schools, state character education director Charlie Abourjilie and Guilford County school board member Susan Mendenhall.
District leaders asked Charlie Abourjilie, a Southwest High School teacher, to oversee the initiative. In 2001, the General Assembly passed the Student Citizen Act, requiring all public schools to teach character.Abourjilie then left Guilford County Schools to become the character education coordinator for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and oversee efforts for the state's 2,300 public schools.
Abourjilie said Guilford County has a strong program, in part because its schools have taught character education longer than most other schools. "So much of what I do is based on what goes on in Guilford County, " he said.Character education is taking root in schools across the country.
"You have to involve your student leadership more, and you have to have an athletic component," Abourjilie said.
Abourjilie said schools can use office referrals, suspension rates, student attendance and parent-teacher surveys to get an idea whether a program works.
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Charles Abourjilie, former GCS teacher who is now serving as the first state director of character education, organized the program in collaboration with Paul Lessard, executive director of the Light House Foundation and the High Point Community Foundation.
Charlie AbourjilieAssistant Superintendent — Charlie Abourjilie
Charlie Abourjilie is an award winning, veteran teacher/educator (20 years) and coach.
A 1988 graduate of VirginiaTech, Charlie is proud to be called a "Hokie".
Building upon 15 years of classroom experience, Charlie has also served as a mentor teacher, extended day school principal, Communities In Schools site director, Curriculum Facilitator, and directed widely acclaimed initiatives at both the district and state levels, most recently serving as North Carolina's first state coordinator of character education (2002-2005). Charlie, as a social studies teacher, has taught all levels of children in courses ranging from Advanced Placement to "Fundamental", in the subjects of United States History, Government, Economics, Psychology, Current Events, and Leadership.
Teaching in inner city, suburban, and rural public schools, Charlie was heralded for his ability to relate to and motivate all of his students, regardless of academic ability, personal background or exceptionality, and his innovative classroom strategies which empowered them all to excel.
Charlie's efforts in the classroom and within his school communities twice led to him being called to broader duty, first serving his district as director of character development, then again in 2002 when he left his classroom to become North Carolina's state coordinator for character education.
In these capacities Charlie developed numerous programs for all levels of learners, and trained thousands of teachers, parents, and community leaders, not only across North Carolina, but also the United States and Canada.
As a national and international consultant, he has keynoted and presented at numerous national, state and regional education conferences, including the International Quest for Character in Toronto, Canada, the National At-Risk Youth Forum, Native American Youth Leadership Conference, and several Character Education, High School Reform, Safe & Drug Free Schools, At-Risk Youth, Exceptional Children, and Closing the Achievement Gap conferences.Charlie has had the joy of working with educators, coaches, community leaders and parents in more than 27 states, in public, private, parochial and alternative schools, as well as working with education students at numerous universities.
Charlie Abourjilie is the author of Developing Character for Classroom Success and has been a contributor to numerous books and publications, as well as being featured on several web sites.
His second book on the power of relationships, expectations and leadership in schools is anticipated for release in 2009.
By far, Charlie's proudest achievement is his family.
He and his wife Karen, a former special education teacher, now administrator, have three children—Jordan, Cole and Austin, and live in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Charlie and his family are members of Westminster Presbyterian church.
After coaching football and basketball at the high school and middle school levels for 13 years, Charlie has spent the last eight years coaching youth league football, basketball and baseball and delights in serving as a Special Olympics coach and volunteer.
Guilford Education Alliance - Board of Directors / Partners
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