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Amy Hawn Nelson

Amy Hawn Nelson's picture

Institute for Social Capital

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
Contact Amy Hawn Nelson
Phone: 704 687-1197


Amy Hawn Nelson is the Director of Research for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the Director of the Institute for Social Capital, Inc., an integrated data system charged with supporting university research and enhancing data-enhanced decision-making in the Charlotte community. She is a Charlotte native and proud graduate of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Prior to joining the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in 2012, Hawn Nelson served as a teacher, mentor, and school leader for 11 years. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction and Masters’ degrees in Teaching and in School Administration. Her research interests include long-term schooling outcomes, data-informed decision making, and integrated data systems. She is an active member of the community, serving several youth and music-oriented organizations in Charlotte.


Ph.D. curriculum & instruction, urban education. UNC Charlotte, 2010
Masters in school administration, UNC Charlotte, 2010
Masters in art of teaching, Johns Hopkins University, 2003
Bachelors in sociology, Africana studies, N.C. State University, 2001
Bachelors in women's & gender studies, N.C. State University, 2001


K-12 Education, long-term schooling outcomes, data-based decision making, school composition and schooling outcomes, integrated data systems.


Feb 26, 2014
This article is a summary of a yearlong study to be published in an edited volume printed by Harvard Educational Press in fall 2014. The study uses administrative records from the N.C. Department of Instruction and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,...
Nov 21, 2013
Since 2012-2013 test results were released Nov. 7 there has been a flurry of publicity about the Common Core standards.The Charlotte Observer has had strong coverage of the topic, as has the News & Observer of Raleigh. (Example: “Common Core...
Oct 04, 2013
Upcoming events: ISC will present at the Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) 2013 Conference: Demonstrated Uses of Integrated Data Systems, November 4-5, 2013, in Washington. Amy Hawn Nelson, director of ISC, will convene a panel at...
Aug 15, 2013
Last Thursday the community memorialized Julius Chambers. Speakers described him as brilliant. Committed. Humble. Courageous. Unrelenting.  A drum major for justice. A fighter for America. A giant among men, though quiet and short in stature. A...
Jun 12, 2013
In 2007, Shamrock Gardens Elementary in east Charlotte was showing big improvements, and after years of being listed as a school that could be taken over by the state for low performance, it was close to coming off that list. Then suddenly test...
Apr 10, 2013
Early in my teaching career I realized how easy it would be to cheat on standardized tests. I realized this by accident, due to my lack of a poker face. The day after a big end-of-unit assessment, a parent of a third-grade student told me her son...
Feb 13, 2013
Nationwide, schools of concentrated poverty have poor academic outcomes and limited educational opportunities.[1] Our local schools are no different.[2][3] Education reform is a priority across the political spectrum and throughout the community....
Dec 05, 2012
Michelle Estrada Abels is an unlikely community organizer. However, she has two small children and does not want to move from the neighborhood she loves, Commonwealth Morningside. So in her neighborhood off Central Avenue, she is urging neighbors to...