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Meet Joanne

Joanne Chesley Ed. D., is a retired professional with 42 years of broad experiences primarily in the field of Education. These include Classroom Teaching (K-12 and adult), School Administration, University Teaching and Advising, Television Production, Retail Banking, and Non-Profit work.

the clock symbolizes my campaign mantra, "Because it's time!"

It's time to send an Experienced, Caring Educator to Raleigh!

  • Dr. Joanne Chesley, is running for the NC House of Representatives, District 83.

  • Joanne served NC schools including universities for nearly 30 years.

  • Joanne has always been an advocate for students and teachers. This began as early as her undergrad years, when she made the choice to enter the field of Education instead of accepting an offer from the US Department of Agriculture where she did her college internship.

  • Dr. Chesley grew up in a diverse community in southern MD. where the population of surrounding neighborhoods was approx 40% Caucasian, 35% African American and 25% Native American.  Despite the diversity, Joanne remembers the subtle and the not-so-subtle reminders of segregation and can tell you stories of how her family took a stand to integrate school buses and lunch counters in Charles County MD. She says she started her advocacy at the age of 14. Joanne believes that ALL people, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, religion, age, sex, gender, political preference, physical or mental ability---ALL people deserve to have an advocate--someone who will fight for them! That's WHY she's running for the NC House.

  • She started her career in Richmond VA, teaching Consumer Economics and Occupational Preparation. She smiles when she reflects on the faces of students that beamed with pride when they learned a new skill in her Clothing Construction class. She speaks with great pride about the students who made a good living for themselves and their families largely because they had learned valuable skills in her Food Preparation classes and Money Management classes.

  • Joanne has served as a School Principal and Assistant Principal where she established a reputation for fairness and firmness. She believes that, because children come from varied experiences over which they often have no control, we as adults and administrators must find ways to teach these students and help them flourish despite the situations that challenge them. At the same time, we as adults and administrators, must establish rules and policies in our buildings that make learning possible and safe and comfortable for all. 

  • Dr. Chesley was a teacher and principal who always went the extra mile! In addition to her curriculum, she did home visits, she wrote grants to put literacy programs in poor communities, she wrote grants to produce and host television programs that informed the community of the good things that schools were doing. 

  • She started a high school project called, "Black Men: Tomorrow's Teachers."  It was funded and greatly celebrated by the Geraldine Dodge Foundation and the DeWitt Wallace/Reader's Digest Foundation. The project established a model for other school districts interested in recruiting more men of color to the profession.

  • She served as a NC Association of School Administrators Board Member, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Accreditation Review Team member, and has held membership in numerous organizations including National Education Association, Phi Delta Kappa, and professional societies such as AERA, UCEA, and ASCD.

  • Dr Chesley believes strongly that a good education is one’s path toward creating a satisfying life. She says, "That is your ticket, that can never be taken away!" She adds, "Getting a good education ensures that you will be better able to control your life with confidence and competence."

  • A win for Joanne Chesley in this election would be a win for NC because: 

  • We would have one more voice in the General Assembly to speak for teachers, parents, and students who genuinely believe in the power of public education.

  • We would have one more voice to speak for women who should always have the right to reproductive freedom.

  • We would have one more voice to stand up for fairness in voting; free from suppression and manipulation

  • Joanne has a son who lives in Charlotte and a daughter in Concord. Her 2 granddaughters attend Cabarrus County Public Schools

  • Joanne grew up in rural MD, where her father raised tobacco and corn to support the family, and her mother worked as a community leader. As Joanne observed her parents and their participation in the life of the community with ALL people, she came to understand the value of hard work and helping your neighbors who sometimes struggle to afford basic human needs. 

  • She believes strongly that our state legislators alongside local governments, must work harder to make housing, childcare and medical care more affordable and accessible for those who are financially burdened.

  • Dr. Chesley promises to fight for ALL children, if elected to this position.

  • She would stand up for protecting the public school budget to ensure our students have all the resources they need to succeed

  • She would work with legislators (on both sides) to make our schools extremely safe for our children and educators. Every parent wants to know that their child is safe while away from home. This factor alone could encourage some parents to leave their children in our public schools!

  • She would stand up for curricular excellence and integrity. When we don't give our students a curriculum that is founded in truth, evidence, and lived experiences, we set them up for failure. They will struggle to compete in the global society that is not coming, but is HERE now. NC must prepare its students adequately for the kinds of economic, social, interpersonal, political and environmental dilemmas and relationships they will face. This is job one for Education. Otherwise, our students will be turned down for critical leadership positions that require them to be open minded and forward thinking. We should not relegate our students to inferior jobs, communities that do not thrive, and the cyclical effects of financial disadvantage. We must let our public schools continue teaching and preparing our students in such a way that they can compete with the best graduates from any school in the country! The academically best school districts in our country spend TWICE what NC spends on public education. In turn, those states enjoy higher wages, higher state revenues and better standards of living.

  • NC students must be taught honest History lessons and honest Science lessons. These lessons must include critical thinking and open discourse in order for students to come to an understanding, to develop appreciation and empathy, to adopt their own values, to assess current world situations against past occurrences, so that they will be able, as adults to take a substantive position on issues; a position that is not based on crowd-think, but is based on fact, science, history, and real possibilities for change.

  • Some private schools rank higher on standardized test scores but there is no clear data showing that they outperform public schools when considering all metrics for success (classroom performance, teacher assessments, effective curriculum for disabled students, sports programs, artistic programs, diversity and community involvement, graduation rates, college acceptance, scholarship offers and more).

  • North Carolina CAN move out of 49th position for PPE (per pupil expenditure) and 43rd position for teacher pay, if we elect legislators who VALUE PUBLIC EDUCATION. Most of our great leaders across this country have come out of PUBLIC SCHOOLS!  


Volunteer Work

  • Weddington Hills Elementary School, Cabarrus County, NC; Odyssey of the Mind Coach

  • Weddington Hills Elementary School, Cabarrus County, Classroom Volunteer (Kindergarten)

  • Gillespie Elementary School, Guilford County Schools, a girls’ empowerment project

  • Burlington City Schools, Celebration of Teaching (grant funded initiative to introduce the profession of teaching to middle and high school students)

  • Riverside High School, Durham County; Director, Black Men: Tomorrow’s Teachers (an initiative funded by Readers Digest/ DeWitt Wallace Foundation

  • Hope Valley Elementary School, Durham, NC; directed a community reading project


1971- 1975

Virginia State University

B.S. Textiles and Clothing Construction

1972 and 1974

US Dept of Agriculture

Textiles Testing Technician, Internships


UNC Charlotte

M. Ed. Curriculum and Instruction


UNC Chapel Hill

Ed. D. Educational Leadership

Career Affiliations

  • Board Member, NC Association of School Administrators

  • NEA member

  • Phi Delta Kappa member

  • American Educational Research Association (AERA) member

  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development member

  • American Association of University Women (AAUW) member

  • National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) member

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Accreditation Team Reviewer

  Political Affiliations and Endorsements

  • Vice Chair, Precinct 04-13, District 83

  • County Executive Council, Democratic Party

  • State Executive Council, Democratic Party

  • Newly Elected (4/20/24) Delegate to 2024 Democratic National Convention, Chicago, IL

  • Cabarrus County NAACP

  • Down Home NC

  • Cabarrus County Black Political Caucus

  • Endorsed by Mr. Amos McClorey, Former President of Cabarrus County Branch, NAACP

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