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Monday, July 25 – Wednesday, July 27

The Rizzo Center | Chapel Hill


Generously sponsored by the Wayne County Friends of Public Education

Click here for the AGENDA

Questions about this event or your application? Contact Paul Bonnici at or 919.962.1544.

To say it has been a challenging two years for Wayne County’s hardworking K-12 teachers is an understatement – and it’s time to celebrate each of you with a return to an IN-PERSON, all expenses paid, engaging, and scholarly RETREAT in beautiful Chapel Hill, NC!

Hosted by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina K-12, in partnership with and entirely funded by the Wayne County Friends of Public Education, currently practicing K-12 teachers in any school throughout Wayne County are cordially invited to apply for the 2022 Wayne County Teachers Retreat, “Enriching the Mind & Rejuvenating the Spirit with a Journey Through the Tar Heel State.” Part content knowledge, part pedagogy & resources, and part well earned “stay-cation,” 30 Wayne County teachers will enjoy a snapshot of some of North Carolina & the South’s most captivating events, people, culture, and literature, all while experiencing luxury accommodations at the beautiful Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill. This widely acclaimed, all-expenses-paid retreat (funded by donors in your own county who are wild about teachers!) is designed to educate and equally appreciate Wayne County’s hard-working educators for the valued and critical work you do.

During this two-night, three-day retreat, walk from your beautiful room at the Rizzo right downstairs to the light-filled seminar room, where our agenda will integrate:

  • A “potpourri” of NC/Southern history, literature, & culture, with presentations from engaging scholars, authors, performers, artists, etc. Highlights include:
    • A workshop with NY Times best-selling author Wiley Cash (teachers will also receive a copy of Cash’s newest novel, “The Last Ballad,” which beautifully tells the story of North Carolina’s Ella May and the Loray Mill Strike)
    • Inspiration from and pedagogical exploration with award-winning performer Dr. Sonny Kelly
    • “Sounds of Freedom: From Slavery to Civil Rights,” a performance by acclaimed vocalist Mary D. Williams (teachers will receive a free copy of Mrs. Williams’s CD of spirituals and freedom songs)
    • Hands-on art exploration & relaxation with artist Karen Lynch Harley, member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe in NC
    • A private screening of “Tales of the American South,” a full-dome short film, followed by a Teacher Appreciation Dinner at 411 West in downtown Chapel Hill
  • Coordinating lesson plans and resources
  • Constant affirmation and appreciation for your work as a PROFESSIONAL who is making NC a better place each day you enter the classroom!
  • A celebratory Teacher Appreciation Dinner (on Monday evening) at 411 West, where we will dine on delicious Italian food and toast each of you into the evening; delicious meals and snacks will also be provided each day
  • Teachers Fun Night Out on Tuesday evening, including a free ticket to the movies.
  • The important chance to meet, share ideas and recharge with other teachers from all around Wayne County

Teachers participating in this FREE retreat and teacher appreciation event will receive:

  • A $100 stipend! (Stipends will be direct-deposited 6-8 weeks post-event.)
  • 2.0 CEUs
  • Beautiful, FREE accommodations (Monday and Tuesday night) at the beautiful Rizzo Center
    • On your application, please note whether you prefer a single-occupancy room, OR if you would like to sign up with a friend/colleague and share a double Queen room.
    • If you want to apply for a double occupancy room (with two Queens), your chances of being accepted may be slightly elevated. Each applicant will need to list their preferred roommate’s name on the application when applying. Please do NOT apply for a double occupancy unless you have confirmed with your preferred roommate first, as they will also need to note this same preference in their application. You should each submit your applications on the same day & no later than 24 hrs. apart. (Failure to do so can delay review of your application and result in spaces being filled.)
    • If you are interested in attending but do NOT need any accommodations, please contact Paul Bonnici at or 919.962.1544.
  • Numerous teacher appreciation “treats” along the way!

Application Requirements:

  • This event is open to any currently practicing K-12 teacher in a Wayne County public school who teaches or integrates North Carolina history and literature into their course (i.e., Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Elementary Education, Arts/Humanities, etc.)
  • Teachers must be able to attend ALL HOURS of EACH DAY of the event in order to register, including Monday’s dinner. (Conflicts that require leaving early, arriving late, or missing any session, activity or meal cannot be accommodated.) See the agenda here for specific start and end times.
  • Last summer’s participants of the 2021 Wayne County Teachers Retreat (at the Colonial Inn, Hillsborough) are ineligible. If you are unsure of your eligibility, feel free to contact Paul Bonnici at or 919.962.1544 to inquire.
  • BEFORE applying, please ensure you have checked your schedule and are committed to attending if accepted. Cancellations create additional administrative work and can result in materials/funding waste.
  • We will follow up-to-date CDC guidelines that are in place as of the event date. (Currently, masking at UNC-CH is optional.) If you have questions or health concerns, please feel free to contact Paul Bonnici at or 919.962.1544.
  • Due to high demand, enrollment is not guaranteed. If your application is accepted for either IN-PERSON or VIRTUAL participation, you will receive notice via e-mail. A response is required to confirm your intent to attend & finalize your enrollment.
    • Expect a response to your application within 2 weeks of your application, and no later than June 1.
    • Please make sure you add the domain “” to your safe senders list to ensure notification of acceptance or wait-list goes through.
    • If after June 1 you have not received a response and a message is not in your junk/spam folder, please contact us at

Credit Card & Cancellation Policy

If your application is accepted, you will receive notice via e-mail. (Please make sure you have added the domain “” to your safe senders list, as failure to receive/reply to your acceptance e-mail can result in your spot going to the next teacher on the list.) A response is required to confirm your intent to attend, and you will need to provide a credit card number via phone or fax to secure your space. YOUR CARD WILL NOT BE CHARGED and NO HOLD is placed on your card to participate in this FREE event.

In the event that a cancellation is unavoidable, we request that you cancel at least 2 weeks in advance of the event start date to allow us the time to fill your spot. We are committed to providing services to hardworking teachers for free, but failure to cancel, last minute cancellations, and “no shows” result in extreme waste and prevents wait-listed teachers from attending. This event is valued at over $1,000 per teacher. Thus, failure to cancel/participate may result in a $75 “no show” fee applied to your credit card (except in the case of emergencies or sudden illness.)

This charge is ONLY applied for a registrant who does not cancel their registration and/or does not show up. (This charge is not applied in the cases of unavoidable emergencies and sudden illness.) We take your privacy very seriously; all credit card information is kept in a locked safe and then shredded after the training date. Credit card information should NOT be sent via e-mail.

If you have any questions, or do not have access to a credit card, please contact Paul Bonnici at or 919.962.1544.


This form will take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Answers cannot be saved, so make sure you have all of the information requested before starting. Please remember that due to extremely high demand, filling out this form does not guarantee your registration. (Requesting a shared room does slightly elevate your chances for acceptance.)

Funding for this event is generously provided by the Wayne County Friends of Public Education, a group of Wayne County residents who came together to fundraise in order to provide Wayne County teachers with a high-quality, all-expenses-paid opportunity to learn, feel appreciated, and rejuvenate after an incredibly difficult year.