Our History

Communities in Schools Wake County was launched in the fall of 1989 and opened its doors to students in 1990. Co-founders and business executives Alex Holmes and Glenn Williams identified specific needs in their community and opted to create a local solution for students and families by engaging  business, educational, civic, and corporate leaders. The objective was to provide a community of support for families to help students achieve their highest potential. The organization was incorporated July 1, 1990, as Wake County Communities in Schools.

CIS Wake Executive Directors/Presidents:

  • Travis Mitchell, October 2010 to present
  • Susan Hansell, 2005 – April 2010
  • Classy Preston, 2000 – 2004

2001 MERGER [Communities in Schools merges with Community Learning Centers to become Community Learning Partners and later changes its name back to Communities In Schools of Wake County]

  • Jenny Spiker, 2000
  • Rosie Bullard, 1996 – 2000
  • Debby Bine, 1990 – 1996

Historical Highlights

October 2010 CIS Wake appoints Travis Mitchell as new president

Raleigh native and Enloe High School alum, Travis Mitchell becomes CIS Wakes new president and executive director, after spending 18-years as a media executive in Atlanta and Washington, DC areas.

Sept. 2010 Former Gov. Jim Hunt keynotes CIS Wake’s Annual Breakfast at Prestonwood Country Club

August 2010 Staples Hosts CIS Wake School Supply Drive

CIS Wake collects nearly 400 backpacks of school supplies for students, thanks to independent drives facilitated by BB&T, Kilpatick Stockton, Fidelity Investment, Cisco, and Cary Family Church of Christ.

July 2010 CIS Wake officially celebrates its 20th anniversary

June 2009 A “Hole in One” for CIS Wake

The 3rd Annual Skanska Golf Classic held at the Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, NC, features 28 teams, a total of 107 players, and yields over $40,000 in proceeds for CIS Wake.

April 2008 Chavis Heights Learning Center Opens

Communities In Schools of Wake County announces the expansion of its afterschool tutorial program with the opening of the Chavis Heights Learning Center in Southeast Raleigh.

September 2007 DINE OUT FOR KIDS raises nearly $25,000 for CIS Wake

RBC Centura Bank for presents the 9th annual Dine Out for Kids. Nearly $25,000 is raised to provide tutoring, one-on-one mentoring, wellness and esteem-building programs to over 1,000 students across Wake County.

June 2007 Skanska Renovates Heritage Park Learning Center

Skanska USA Building Inc., the Triangle’s top general contractor renovates Heritage Park Community Learning Center, CIS Wake’s oldest facility.

April 2007 JordanBuilt Helps CIS Wake Launch Lots for Learning!

Triangle homebuilder JordanBuilt launches the “Lots for Learning® program” and donates $100 from the sale of each JordanBuilt home to CIS Wake.

August 2006 Academy Award winning artists Hootie and the Blowfish raise over $10,000 in school supplies for at-risk students in Wake County during a concert at Raleigh’s Alltel Pavilion.

Concert goers were asked to help ‘stuff the bus’ with school supplies for area at-risk youth by bringing a few school supply items to the concert. Hootie and the Blowfish also generously offered free concert tickets to donors bringing supplies.

August 2006 All 7 Wake County STAPLES stores team up to collect school supplies for CIS Wake students. The weekend was a huge success for CISWC. Items donated include: pencils, protractors, notebooks, and other assorted school supplies.

June 2006 Junior League of Raleigh Partnership Promotes Natural Learning.

The Junior League of Raleigh works with CIS Wake students in the Heritage Park community to provide a high quality outdoor learning environment. The project, known as the Natural Learning Initiative, transforms an outdoor area adjacent to the Heritage Park Community Learning Center into a carefully planned, educational, and a recreational site for enjoyment by all residents.

May 2006 Ann Goodnight presents CIS Wake Board Chair Michael Olander with the “key” to the SAS Community Learning Center expansion at the grand opening of this state-of-the-art learning center.

This expansion affords CISWC the opportunity to better meet the age specific needs of the students we serve. The 3,000- square-foot state-of-the-art learning center is designed to meet the learning needs of all the children in the Kentwood public housing community.

April 2006 CISWC receives a $100,000 check from Wake County Commissioners

CIS Wake launches its “End of Year Power Play Campaign” which will match the county’s support by raising $100,000 between April 18th and May 18th.

March 2006 Students from NC State University sponsored a Field Day for CIS Wake students at the Hurricane’s Academy Community Learning Center at Walnut Terrace.

June 2005 Students from Communities In Schools of Wake County attend the Practice Round of the 2005 US Open at Pinehurst.

January 2004 CIS Wake moves to Capitol Park

July 2000 CIS Wake Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

1999 CIS Wake joins Wake County Public School System in Two Major Initiatives

  • The Safe Schools/Healthy Students Grant
  • The Readers to Achieve Volunteer Component of the Accelerated Learning Program

1996 Organization’s name officially changed from Wake County CIS to Communities in Schools of Wake County.

Fall 1995 – In partnership with Christ Episcopal Church and the Heritage Park Community, CIS Wake secures funding and shared responsibility for an early childhood program. FACES (Families And Communities Educating Students) features a high quality preschool program, an afterschool program of support for siblings of preschoolers at Heritage Park, and long-term CIS support for FACES graduates.

June 1992 – During the academic year, CIS Wake serves more than 300 students and expands to two additional sites: East Wake Middle School and Millbrook High School.

July 1990 – CIS Wake is incorporated, initially serving 116 students at four sites: East Wake High School, Garner Senior High School, North Garner Middle School, and Zebulon Middle School.

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