Celebrating 125 Years

Alumni Achievement Award – Cynthia Thompson Rudolph

Photo of Cynthia Thompson Rudolph

Cynthia Thompson Rudolph

Cynthia Thompson Rudolph is a master teacher. A biology teacher at Hopewell High School in Huntersville, North Carolina, Cindy is an effective and powerful teacher of children and of other teachers.

Cindy, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, came to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Science Teaching in 1986 and a Master of Arts in Teaching in 1987.

After flirting with other careers, including nursing and private industry, Cindy joined the teaching profession in 2003. She started at Coulwood Middle School in Charlotte, and then moved shortly after to Hopewell High School in Huntersville, North Carolina.

Cindy regularly co-teaches two biology inclusion classes that incorporate students with special needs. She also teaches honors courses. Her unconventional and innovative techniques in teaching complicated science have gained recognition for their effectiveness.

Cindy’s colleagues say that she challenges each student to get out of their “comfort zone” to increase their academic achievement. She integrates art, dance, and song into her classes to help push her students. Students in Cindy’s classes are known to perform the Mitosis Square Dance and the Photosynthesis Chant, among the activities she has designed to impart – in a fun and engaging way – knowledge about often-difficult concepts.

End-of-course test results confirm that her techniques are extremely successful, with students in all her classes regularly scoring above state standards. Those results are enjoyed not only by students in her honors courses, but also by the students in her inclusion classes.

Cindy has been recognized by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for her effectiveness, inviting her to serve as a professional development master teacher. The school system also has designated her classroom as a learning lab where new teachers can observe her teaching and management techniques.

Cindy’s determination, creativity and effectiveness have drawn attention from other educators. In November, she was named North Carolina’s Milken Family Foundation National Educator recipient. She was one of only 53 teachers to receive the award last year.

The award recognizes exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results; exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession; strong, long-term potential for professional and policy leadership; and an engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

For her devotion to her students and to her fellow teachers, for her creative spirit and dedication to the teaching profession, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education awards Cynthia Thompson Rudolph its Alumni Achievement Award.