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Cheryl Ayers

Co-Director, Virginia Tech Center for Economic Education


Ph.D., Curriculum and Teaching, Economic Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2015

M.B.A., University of Lynchburg, 2001

B.S., Career and Technical Education, Business/Marketing, Virginia Tech, 1993


Cheryl has been a K-12 teacher educator for more than 15 years, specializing in economic education. She is especially passionate about equipping K-12 teachers with the economics and personal finance knowledge and instructional practices needed to empower their students for productive and prosperous lives as adult citizens. As co-director of the Center for Economic Education at Virginia Tech, Cheryl works in partnership with Professor Mike Ellerbrock, the Center’s long-time director. Together, Cheryl and Mike are increasing the center’s visibility to surrounding school districts and growing the program by increasing the awareness of its resources and programs to educators.

Courses Taught

University of North Carolina at Greensboro, August 2011 - December 2013

  • TED 360 Elementary Social Studies Methods
  • TED 495 Middle Grades Capstone Seminar in Social Studies (co-instructor; 2 sections)
  • TED 553 Teaching Practices and Curriculum in Secondary Social Studies (teaching assistant)
  • TED 589 Economics for Educators (2 sections)

Virginia Tech, June - July 2010

  • ECON 3004 Economics Institute for High School Teachers

Lynchburg College, January 2008

  • FIN 150 Personal Finance
  • ECON 600 Economics for K-12 Educators (2 sections)


  • Co-Director, Center for Economic Education, Virginia Tech, October 2016 - Present
  • Advanced Research Specialist, Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, February 2016 - Present
  • University/College Supervisor of Student-Teachers, Lynchburg College, January 2016- April 2016
  • Associate Director, Center for the Liberal Arts, University of Virginia, October 2015 - August 2016
  • University/College Supervisor of Student-Teachers, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Januray 2011 - April 2014
  • Director, Center for Economic Education, Lynchburg College, July 2000 - July 2010
  • Career and Technical Education Teacher, Frederick County Public Schools, July 1994 - July 1999


Graduate Research Scholar Award, UNCG Graduate School, School of Education, 2015

Fellowship Award, College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies, National Technology Leadership Initiative, 2015

Graduate Dean's Award, UNCG Graduate School, 2015

Technology Research Paper Award (SITE/NTLI) from the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies for the paper entitled, “Exploring TPCK in One-to-One High School Civics Classrooms” (co-authored with Wayne Journell and Melissa Walker Beeson), 2014

UNCG Graduate School, Summer Research Assistantship Award 2013

Outstanding Graduate Business Student Award, Lynchburg College, 2001

Referred Journal Articles

Ayers, C. A. (under review). A first step toward a practice-based theory of pedagogical content knowledge in secondary economics.

Ayers, C. A. (2016). Economic education in U.S. high schools: Empowering economically literate students for democratic citizenship. Oregon Journal of the Social Studies, 4(2), 52-69.

Ayers, C. A. (2016). Developing preservice and inservice teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in economics. Social Studies Research and Practice, 11(1), 73-92.

Journell, W., Beeson, M. W., & Ayers, C. A. (2015). Learning to think politically: Toward more complete disciplinary knowledge in civics and government courses. Theory and Research in Social Education, 43, 28-67. 

Ayers, C. A. (2014). 21st Century technology integration in secondary social studies education: Three constructivist, technology-based practices. Oregon Journal of the Social Studies, 2(1), 85-97.

Beeson, M. W., Journal, W., & Ayers, C. A. (2014). When using technology isn’t enough: A comparison of high school civics teachers’ TPCK in one-to-one laptop environments. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 38, 117-128.

Journell, W., Ayers, C. A., & Beeson, M. W. (2014). Tweeting in the classroom. Phi Delta Kappan, 95(5), 63-67.

Journell, W., Ayers, C. A., & Beeson, M. W. (2013). Joining the conversation: Twitter as a tool for student political engagement. The Educational Forum, 77(4), 466-480.

Ayers, C. A. (2012). Empowering all students with a secure economic and financial future: Multidisciplinary investment education in social studies curricula and beyond. Journal of Consumer Education, 29, 1-13.

Book Chapters

Ayers, C. A. (in press). Learning to crosswalk: Horizon content knowledge in economics. In Teaching social studies: A methods book for methods teachers by S. G. Grant, J. Lee, & K. Swan (Eds.).

Ayers, C. A. (in progress). Economic education simulations. In More like life itself: Simulations as powerful and purposeful social studies by C. Wright-Maley (Ed.).

Book Review

Ayers, C. A. (2012). 21st Century economic education. [Review of the book Teaching economics in troubled times: Theory and practice for secondary social studies by M. C. Schug & W. C. Wood (Eds.)]. Theory and Research in Social Education, 40(3), 328-334.