South Charlotte

Ballantyne Breakfast Club convenes with education focus

The Harris Building, a 10-story building in Ballantyne Corporate Park, is home to Wingate University Ballantyne, where the university offers several graduate-degree programs.
The Harris Building, a 10-story building in Ballantyne Corporate Park, is home to Wingate University Ballantyne, where the university offers several graduate-degree programs. BISSELL COS.

Educational leaders from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and local colleges and universities will talk about higher education opportunities in Ballantyne and the 2015-16 school year at the upcoming meeting of the Ballantyne Breakfast Club.

The club’s August meeting traditionally focuses on educational issues, said club founder Ray Eschert. This month’s meeting will be at 9 a.m. Aug. 15 in the Fairway Ballroom of the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge.

This year, the education-focused program will include Philip Dubois, UNC Charlotte chancellor, and Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College. They will join CMS superintendent Ann Clark for the discussion.

“We felt (including college representatives) was a way to expand the opportunity to discuss education benefits in a broader sense,” Eschert said.

Mark Bryant, director of Wingate University’s Ballantyne MBA program, and Mark McDonald, associate dean for corporate and continuing education for CPCC’s new Ballantyne campus, also will attend.

Eschert said education is an important issue in Ballantyne, as realtors report that strong schools are a top priority for families moving to the area.

There is a fast-growing presence of higher-education opportunities in Ballantyne, as well. Wingate University offers an adult bachelor’s degree program and several graduate-degree programs at its Ballantyne campus. In addition, CPCC’s Ballantyne Center, which offers corporate and continuing-education classes, opened this summer.

“Education plays such a large role in what corporations are looking for, (for) their employees,” Eschert said. “Being able to walk out of your office and attend courses is a definite advantage.”

Ballantyne is home to some of the highest-ranked public schools in CMS, including Hawk Ridge Elementary School and Ardrey Kell High School.

Each speaker at the breakfast club meeting will talk for 15 minutes, then will be available to answer questions individually.

Eschert said he expects one of the “hot topics” for Clark will be issues with the state budget yet to be approved, including whether teaching assistants will lose their jobs and how starting the school year without a budget will affect hiring and other issues.

Dubois and Zeiss will talk about the relationships their schools have with CMS for advanced-study courses and about programs they offer to many associates of the businesses in Ballantyne Corporate Park.

Eschert said speakers will provide brochures and other information about their programs.

Ballantyne Breakfast Club meetings are free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to arrive at 8:30 a.m. for refreshments and the opportunity to meet other people and talk with the morning’s speakers.

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: martyminchin@gmail.com.

Learn more:

For information about the Ballantyne Breakfast Club, visit www.ballantynebreakfastclub.com.

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