2024 William Friday Teachers Retreat

The 2024 William Friday Teachers Retreat: Enriching the Mind & Rejuvenating the Spirit “Down East”

Held in honor of Todd Miller – Founder, former Executive Director & Senior Advisor to the North Carolina Coastal Federation

Sun. June 23 – Tues. June 25 | The Beaufort Hotel | Beaufort, NC

Event Overview

To say these are challenging times for K-12 teachers is an understatement. From unprecedented student needs to being expected to do more with less, we know that teaching is taking more of your energy then every before. We see you, we appreciate you, and we are ready to lift you up this summer at the annual William Friday Teachers Retreat when we head to the idyllic coastal town of Beaufort, NC (recently recognized as the “Best Small Town for Adventure” by USA Today and “South’s Best Small Town” by Southern Living!)

Join the NC Dept. of Natural & Cultural Resources,  Carolina K-12, and the North Caroliniana Society for two nights, three days, ALL-EXPENSES- PAID at the beautiful, water-front Beaufort Hotel, where we will provide space for you to reconnect with your role as a scholar yourself and with your passion for the art of teaching. Part content knowledge, part pedagogy & resources, and part vacation adventures, Beaufort’s old-world, southern charm, and the nearby Harkers Island serve as the perfect spot to dive into captivating local history, preservation, maritime culture, and true “Down East” heritage.

This widely acclaimed event is designed to educate and equally appreciate our state’s hard-working educators for the valued and critical work you do! Please note that space is limited and thus registration is NOT guaranteed. To enhance your chances of acceptance, read the following details carefully.

Tab/Accordion Items

  • A “potpourri” of eastern NC history, literature, culture, & heritage – with presentations from engaging presenters, performers, & Down East locals.
  • Coastal adventures, on and off land, including:
  • Coordinating lesson plans and resources
  • A celebratory Teacher Appreciation Dinner (on Sunday evening), where we will toast each of you into the evening; breakfast, lunch & snacks will also be provided each day.
  • This an important chance to meet, share ideas, and recharge with other teachers from all around the state!
  • Constant affirmation and appreciation for your work as a PROFESSIONAL who is making NC a better place each day you enter the classroom!

Download & View the Agenda 

  • 2.0 CEUs
  • Beautiful, FREE accommodations (Sunday and Monday night) at the beautiful Beaufort Hotel
    • Please note that most rooms are double occupancy with two queen beds. Your best chance of receiving a spot in this event is to apply with a colleague for a double-occupancy room.
    • When applying for a double occupancy room with a colleague, please coordinate with each other BEFORE applying. Each of you will need to list the other as your preferred roommate in your application. Please do NOT apply for a double occupancy unless you have CONFIRMED with your preferred roommate first. You should each submit your applications on the same day & no later than 24 hrs. apart. (Failure to do so can delay the review of your application and result in spaces being filled.)
    • A very small number (3-5) single-occupancy rooms are available.
    • If you are interested in attending but have your own accommodations in Beaufort, please reach out to us at CarolinaK12@unc.edu to discuss a travel stipend.

This widely acclaimed event is designed to educate and equally appreciate North Carolina’s hard-working educators for the valued and critical work you do! Please note that space is limited and thus registration is NOT guaranteed. To enhance your chances of acceptance, read the following details carefully. The application will open on May 10 at 4 pm.

  • This event is open to currently employed North Carolina K-12 educators who are employed full-time. Applicants should demonstrate how they teach or integrate North Carolina history, literature and/or heritage into their course (or with the educators they support.) Teachers in Social Studies/History, English/Language Arts, and the arts/humanities will find the content most valuable. Applicants should also be life-long learners with a sense of adventure and a desire to connect with other teacher comrades from across the state.
  • Previous attendees of the William Friday Teachers Retreat or the Wayne County Teachers Retreat are ineligible for participation.
  • Teachers must be able to attend ALL HOURS of EACH DAY of the event in order to register, including Sunday’s dinner.
    • Conflicts that require leaving early, arriving late, or missing any session, activity, or meal cannot be accommodated.
    • Please note that this agenda does include a rustic day (Monday) on Harkers Island, with ferry rides to/from Cape Lookout, and a private tour along the uninhabited Cape Lookout seashore in the back of flatbed trucks. Please make sure that this is something that aligns with your interests and temperament.
    • We are committed to access and accessibility, so if you have any mobility issues and would like to ask any questions before applying, please e-mail us at CarolinaK12@unc.edu.
    • See the agenda here for specific start and end times to confirm you can attend all sessions.
  • BEFORE applying, please ensure you have checked your schedule and are committed to attending if accepted. Cancellations create additional administrative work and can result in materials/funding waste.
  • Due to high demand, APPLICATION ACCEPTANCE IS NOT GUARANTEED and is determined based on a combination of: order of application receipt; responses to application questions; & metrics that ensure diversity of schools represented, grade levels taught, number of years teaching, and subject-area focus.
    • If your application is not accepted, do not be too discouraged! This is an annual event and there will be opportunities in the future because we LOVE serving teachers!
  • If your application is accepted you will receive notice via e-mail. A quick response is required to confirm your intent to attend & finalize your enrollment. It is critical that you make sure CarolinaK12@unc.edu is added to your safe senders list. (We have found our messages can often go to junk, spam, promotional, etc. folders.) You should expect notice of whether a space is available for you by June 15.
  • A credit card is required to hold your FREE space. Your card will NOT BE CHARGED for participation in this all-expenses-paid retreat. (See policy below.)

If your application is accepted, you will receive notice via e-mail and a response is required within 3 business days. (***Please make sure you have added the domain “@unc.edu” to your safe senders list, as failure to receive/reply to your acceptance e-mail within 3 business days will result in your spot going to the next teacher on the list.***)

If a spot is offered to you, you will need to provide a credit card number within three business days via phone (919-962-1544) or fax (919-962-4318) to secure your space. (Please do not e-mail your credit card information.) YOUR CARD WILL NOT BE CHARGED and NO HOLD is placed on your card to participate in this FREE event. Due to the high demand for spaces, if you do not respond within three business days we will need to offer the spot to a teacher on the waiting list.

It’s free, so why do you need a credit card number? In the event that a cancellation is unavoidable, we request that you cancel at least 1-2 weeks in advance of the event start date to allow us the time to fill your spot. We are committed to providing services to hardworking teachers for free, but failure to cancel, last-minute cancellations, and “no-shows” result in extreme waste and prevents wait-listed teachers from attending. This event is valued at over $1,200 per teacher. Thus, failure to cancel/participate may result in a $75 “no-show” fee applied to your credit card (except in the case of emergencies or sudden illness.) This charge is ONLY applied for a registrant who does not cancel their registration and/or does not show up. (This charge is not applied in the cases of unavoidable emergencies and sudden illness.) We take your privacy very seriously; all credit card information is kept in a locked safe and then shredded after the training date. Credit card information should NOT be sent via e-mail.


If you have any questions, or receive a space and do not have access to a credit card, please contact Paul Bonnici at bonnici@unc.edu or 919.962.1544.