Dr. Charles Cherry named dean of the Dr. Helen Marshall Caldwell School of Education
Kesha Williams July 03, 2012
Dr. Charles Cherry has been named dean of the Dr. Helen Marshall Caldwell School
of Education and Psychology at Elizabeth City State University.
Cherry, an ECSU alumnus who earned his doctorate Vanderbilt University, has served
as interim dean at ECSU for the past two years. He begins the post working in the
new Willie and Jacqueline Gilchrist Education and Psychology Complex. Cherry is confident
the building's highly advanced features better enables faculty to blend theory with
technology to prepare students for the types of challenges teachers face in today's
"Today's teachers must be prepared to show students how to gather information in a
classroom that once could be acquired only by visiting the library," Cherry said in
describing the future of education. He said ECSU has the tools to meet the challenge
to produce more and better teachers.
"We now can train them to incorporate technology in various instructional methods,
whether that includes the use of Skype, webinars or online research databases. The
curriculum center in this new building enables teachers to share instructional materials
that will be used as resources in the classroom. Education has changed in the last
decade -- even in the last five years -- so the way we train prospective teachers
Cherry said it is important for prospective teachers to be prepared locally to teach
in schools anywhere across the nation or the globe.
"Our students are now considering student teaching assignments in countries abroad,
such as in China or Finland," he said. "They must be prepared to compete with prospective
teachers from other universities who also are seeking jobs."
Cherry is proud of ECSU's ability to host workshops and training sessions for teachers
working in surrounding counties. He estimates that more than 100 public schoolteachers
have come to ECSU's campus for workshops addressing the use of technology in the classroom.
Last year, the Education Department also welcomed area teachers to hear motivational
speeches by the national and state teachers of the year. Cherry lauds the increased
interaction between the university and teachers in surrounding areas. If public education
will change for the better, he explained, teachers, superintendents and other staff
must have ongoing training, steady dialog about the needs of today's students and
a convenient, public place to complete those sessions -the local university, he said.
It has been 50 years since Cherry first entered public education as a teacher. He
went on to become a coach, assistant principal, an administrator in library services
and instructional services and later an instructor and administrator in higher education.
He says he can identify with the people he now serves as dean, whether they are prospective
teachers, university faculty or staff.
"After 50 years in education, my thirst, my desire, passion, compassion and commitment
are as strong today as when I began. I am wiser now, but I realize it's a good time
to be a contributor in an ever-changing profession," Cherry said.
Cherry said he is especially proud of the changes and developments at his alma mater,
He recalled the pride of seeing his former instructor, Dr. Helen Marshall Caldwell,
witness the naming of the School of Education and Psychology in her honor in March
2012. He said he learned from Caldwell and others during his undergraduate experience
at ECSU in the 1960s core concepts in addition to the essential tactics of instruction.
"Teaching goes beyond your special knowledge of a topic, but it includes your rewarding
experiences in music, literature, community involvement and others areas of interest.
You can be the smartest person holding a teacher's certificate, but it's the experience
you bring to the classroom, the places you've gone that allow you to captivate students'
interest," Cherry said.
"The teachers in my day brought real life experiences to the classroom. That's what
makes classrooms come alive when teachers can add that to the curriculum. Students
must realize what you teach will be relevant to their lives after they've completed
In addition to ECSU's Education Department, Cherry was complimentary of the Psychology
Department, noting that psychology courses recommended for prospective teachers help
them to understand the type students they will encounter in the classroom. In addition,
he said, human growth and development courses will help prospective teachers understand
the difference between the needs and abilities of elementary, middle and high school
The Psychology Department also plays a critical role in preparing ECSU students for
careers in social work, communications, criminal justice and others fields in which
understanding human behavior is essential. Other possible career paths for students
majoring in psychology include careers as counselors or psychologists.
Cherry is dedicated to helping faculty and staff best prepare students in the Dr.
Helen Marshall Caldwell School of Education and Psychology for meaningful careers.
Cherry earned his master's degree from Hampton University, an advanced certificate
of school administration from Old Dominion University. He is married to Sophronia
"Terri" Clarke Cherry. They are the parents of 2 adult daughters, Elon and Charla
and the grandparents of five grandchildren.