As Dean of the Cato College of Education at UNC Charlotte, Ellen McIntyre leads 200 faculty and staff and 2,400 students. Prior to her appointment at UNC-C, she was the College of Education Department Head at NC State University, a Professor at University of Louisville, and an elementary school teacher. Ellen’s research interests are in elementary reading instruction, especially for struggling readers, and effective teacher education.
What is the greatest challenge our educators face?
Providing an excellent education for students living in poverty, both urban and rural
What do you consider your organization's greatest achievement?
UNC Charlotte provides many first generation college students a degree and economic mobility. We do this and simultaneously maintain our excellent status as a research university.
What quality do you most admire in a school leader?
A leader who can singularly focus on student achievement within a positive, high energy culture that brings all educators in the building into the vision
If you could change one thing about public education, what would it be?
Teachers would make more money and have opportunity for career advancement while staying in the classrooms. Opportunity Culture is the closest thing we’ve got to that.
What is your current state of mind?
I am excited about my work. It’s a challenging and controversial time to be an education dean right now. But I thrive on challenge and am comfortable taking a stand on controversial issues. That is where my head is.
Which living person do you most admire?
Barack Obama. I am constantly amazed at his intellect, temperament, integrity, and decision-making. His achievements are great, despite the challenges he has faced.
Favorite motto or quote?
One that comes to mind is on the Martin Luther King memorial in DC. It says, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” It’s helpful to me right now.
Best piece of advice ever given to you?
“Figure it out.” I was told by my parents to go to college, even though they could not afford to pay for any part of it. They told me to figure it out. I was on my own by 18, but did like they said and figured it out.
Advice you would give to a young person interested in a profession in education?
Go where the work is hardest. Make your mark where it matters most.
What were you really into when you were a kid?
Playing in the woods and reading Nancy Drew