Board of Education
Elyse Dashew was elected as an at-large member of the Board of Education in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. After graduating from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, she worked in the television industry and later ran a publishing business. A longtime advocate for public education, she has lived in Mecklenburg County since 1995. Dashew currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Council of the Great City Schools; the Board of Directors for DreamKey Partners; the Charlotte Advisory Board for NC Outward Bound School; the Board of Trustees/Advisory Council for the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance; and she is a Community Advisor for the Junior League of Charlotte. She grew up in California and spent seven years of her childhood living on a sailboat circumnavigating the world with her family. Her daughter and son are CMS graduates.
District 4 (Vice Chair)
Stephanie Sneed was elected to represent District 4 in November 2022. She is an attorney specializing in employment law. As a child, she was active in Girl Scouts and public service, as were her mother and grandmother. Sneed attended public schools. She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Texas at Arlington and completed course work toward a master’s degree in city regional planning before shifting her focus to the law. She graduated from Howard University School of Law and works as a trial lawyer practicing in the areas of labor and employment law. Sneed was a founding member of the Charlotte Community Think Tank and has served as chair of the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Jennifer De La Jara was elected as an at-large member of the Board of Education in 2019. A native of Valdese, North Carolina, she has worked in education, public transit and the nonprofit sector. De La Jara holds a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal and organizational communications studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is also a community leadership graduate from Focus Louisville in Kentucky. She has worked as an instructor and program manager in English as a Second Language, served as grants program coordinator for Central Piedmont Community College and worked as the director of diversity and inclusion for the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville. De La Jara has also owned and managed two restaurants in Charlotte and created her own consulting company to provide cultural-competency training to educators in the Charlotte region. She is is currently the Workforce Development Director at the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool.
Lenora Shipp was elected as an at-large member of the Board of Education in 2019. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she worked in education for more than 30 years in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools before retiring in June 2014. Shipp is a graduate of West Charlotte High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Barber-Scotia College, a master’s degree in educational administration from Ohio State University and a master’s degree from UNC Charlotte in curriculum, instruction and supervision. She taught at First Ward Elementary school, as well as at what was then Ranson Junior High, before being named assistant principal at Allenbrook Elementary and principal at Sedgefield Elementary. She has served as a trainer, mentor and presenter on state and national programs and conferences. She has also won national recognition as an effective teacher and school leader.
Melissa Easley was elected to represent District 1 in November 2022. A native of Chicago, she moved to Charlotte in 2011 and was a science and social studies teacher in CMS for a decade. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in K-12 instructional technology from Walden University. She also has National Board certification. Before coming to Charlotte, she taught science and social studies in suburban Chicago. She is the co-founder of the online platform North Carolina Teachers United. She is married with two children in CMS schools.
Thelma Byers-Bailey was elected to the Board of Education in 2013 to represent District 2. A native Charlottean, she graduated from West Charlotte High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in physics and math from Fisk University. She holds a law degree from St. Louis University Law School and master’s degree from the St. Louis Joint Degree Program. While practicing law in California she served the Wiley Manual Bar Association as president and the California State Bar Conference of Delegates as a member of the Calendar Coordinating Committee before retiring to return home to Charlotte. Byers-Bailey is president of the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Association, serves as a member of the Friendship CDC Board of Directors and the African American Community Fund’s Board of Directors. She has served as an after-school math tutor for 4th and 5th grade students, as well as a mentor for an 8th grader at Walter G. Byers School. Ms. Byers-Bailey has two adult children and seven grandchildren.
Gregory “Dee” Rankin was elected to represent District 3 in November 2022. He is a program supervisor. A native of Charlotte, he attended North Carolina A&T State University and UNC Charlotte, earning a bachelor’s degree. He also earned a master’s degree in public administration from UNC Pembroke. He has been an educator in CMS and has taught in private and charter schools. He has also served as the chair of the Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance, chair of the education committee for the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and director of education for the Sigmas of Charlotte. His family has been active in education, serving in CMS as principals, administrators, and teachers. He is married with three daughters.
Lisa Cline was elected to represent District 5 in November 2022. A native of Greenville, S.C., she graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and history and earned a master’s degree in school administration from UNC Charlotte. Before moving to Charlotte in 1990, she taught in middle and high schools for 10 years. In Charlotte, she taught at Smith and Cochrane junior high schools, then worked in the then-new middle school model at Smith. She served as lead teacher for Smith Academy of Foreign Languages, for the district social studies program and for the Middle Years Program International Baccalaureate. She also worked as coordinator at Marie G. Davis and was assistant principal at Phillip O. Berry, West Mecklenburg and Ardrey Kell high schools. In all, she worked in education for 39 years before retiring in 2019. Once retired, she did volunteer work in the community before teaching multiple K-12 learning pods during the pandemic.
Summer Nunn was elected to represent District 6 in November 2022. She is chief marketing officer of Magnolia Wash Holding. A native of Hamlet, North Carolina, she comes from a family of educators: her mother was a teacher in Scotland County, her grandmother was a high school secretary, and her grandfather was a history teacher, football coach, principal and interim superintendent. Nunn attended public schools before earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration (with a concentration in finance) from UNC Chapel Hill. She and her husband decided to leave Atlanta for Charlotte in 2009. They have two children in CMS elementary schools.