Charles Thomas
Charles Thomas

Charles Thomas, executive director of Queen City Forward, will join the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as a program director based in Charlotte.

Thomas, a Charlotte native, will work with local leaders and community members” to find and invest in projects that help to keep and attract talented people in the city, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement,” the foundation said in a statement Monday.

He will start on Feb. 22.

City Forward is a hub for entrepreneurs who have business ideas that address social needs. Thomas is founding director, responsible for launching the organization and building programs to advance and support social entrepreneurship, college entrepreneurship and civic innovation.

Prior to leading Queen City Forward, Thomas, a professional photographer, served as the director of education for The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film, an organization dedicated to using the creative arts to transform communities.

He also co-published a book of photography and stories with author Valaida Fullwood, “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.” The book won the 2012 Terry McAdam Book Award and inspired a traveling exhibition “Soul of Philanthropy: Reframed and Exhibited,” which is touring the country.
He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Duke University, and he serves on the boards of trustees of The Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library and the East Mecklenburg High School Foundation.

He and his wife, Micaila Milburn, have three sons.

Thompson hires new director of Child Development Center

Tameka Ardrey
Tameka Ardrey

Tameka Ardrey, a doctoral candidate with years of experience teaching young children, has been named director of Thompson Child Development Center.

Ardrey is a child development specialist who anticipates earning her Ph.D. in urban education from UNC Charlotte in 2017, the organization announced Monday. She joined Thompson earlier this month.

Since 2012, Ardrey had worked as a child development specialist at Child Care Resources. She’s also taught pre-kindergarten and served as preschool camp director and intensive reading program coordinator at the Steele Creek YMCA. Family involvement and behavior management are among her specialties.

Thompson Child Development Center provides educational assistance and counseling for children with developmental challenges. The Center is located on Clanton Road, and serves children from diverse backgrounds.

“Tameka is the perfect person for this role,” said Thompson President and CEO Mary Jo Powers. “She has an impressive educational background, plus all the right practical experience.”

Ardrey earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy with a concentration in education from UNC Chapel Hill and her master’s degree in child and family studies from UNC Charlotte. She also holds a North Carolina early care and educational professional certificate and is a certified class observer for infants and toddlers.