IRI DEI Thought Leader Interview – Elaine Franklin and Mark Townley, Kenan Fellows Program

Resource Type
Audio Presentation/Podcast
Publish Date
Lee Green, Elaine Franklin, Mark Townley
Leading Innovation Organizations, Talent Management, Organizational Vision
Associated Event
IRI DEI Thought Leader Interview – Elaine Franklin and Mark Townley, Kenan Fellows Program

April 2022

IRI’s Lee Green and Elaine Franklin and Mark Townley of the Kenan Fellows Program discuss their program that brings together teachers and industry to teach skills to students that can be used in local industry.  Through their initiatives, they strive to make sure that the Kenan Fellows look like the students in their communities and use project-based learning to bring inclusion to teaching processes. 

Dr. Elaine Franklin guides the long-term strategic planning and the vision for the growth and sustainability of the Kenan Fellows Program, a nationally recognized model for promoting teacher leadership, addressing teacher retention and advancing K-12 education. In her role, she helps build relationships statewide to enhance the reputation and the profile of the Kenan Fellows Program. Dr. Franklin joins the Kenan Fellows Program with years of experience as a teacher, researcher, and educational leader. Most recently, she served as the executive director of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT).

She is also the former Director of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education (CMSE) at Western Carolina University.  Dr. Franklin has dedicated her career to developing and empowering effective teachers and has worked with teachers from across the United States, all disciplines and grade levels. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Asheville, an M.A.Ed. in Education from Western Carolina University and a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from UNC-Chapel Hill.

In his role as Assistant Director of Programs, Mark Townley helps to manage all aspects of program operations including teacher recruitment, internship oversight, professional development, and project design/implementation. Mr. Townley started his career as a lateral entry teacher at Lee County Sr. High School where he taught for seven years before moving to Holly Springs High School in Wake County. He has been in the classroom for 20 years teaching Earth/Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, and AP Research. As an award-winning educator, Mr. Townley has worked with multiple statewide agencies to create innovative curriculum and professional development and to advocate for the teaching profession.  He has served on the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee under Governor Roy Cooper and on the Kenan Fellows Program Board of Advisors. He holds a B.A. in Geology from North Carolina State University.