- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Open Schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg
- Sue Spayth Riley oral history interview, 2005 September 13
Sue Spayth Riley oral history interview, 2005 September 13
Sue Spayth Riley describes her experiences as the founder and director of Charlotte's first integrated and open preschool, the Open Door School. Ms. Riley attributes her decision to establish the Open Door School to a combination of influences, including her parents' pedagogical beliefs and her own educational experiences at the Modern School in Stelton, New Jersey and at Black Mountain College. Ms. Riley discusses the close affiliation of the Open Door School with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, and describes the differences between Open Door and other church affiliated preschools. Ms. Riley defines open education as being "child centered," and stresses the importance of integration for fulfilling the open school mission. She discusses her role as a spokesperson for the "People for Open Education" and explains her part in the establishment of Irwin Avenue Open Elementary. The interview closes with a conversation about the current education system and the decline of open education in the United States and in Charlotte.