Benita Staples

Benita Staples

• Part-time Instructor
GIS Supervisor of Land Records and Addressing, Mecklenburg County
McEniry 220


M.A. (2007) Geography, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
B.S. (2000) Environmental Science, North Carolina Central University


While I started my professional career in a research lab utilizing my environmental science background, I stumbled into education by becoming a middle school earth and environmental science teacher through a lateral entry program to help fill a need for science educators. As a part of the teaching certification requirement I had to take a geography course and I fell in love with geographic information systems (GIS) prompting a career change to working in geospatial information services. Now 20 years into my career as a fulltime GIS professional working for local government, I have had the opportunity to hire recent university geography graduates. I noticed a disconnect between these recent hires’ understanding of basic concepts of geography and GIS and their ability to apply those concepts to solve real world issues. This inspired me to help bridge the academic and the real world by becoming an educator yet again.

I am committed to creating an academic experience that extends beyond the classroom. It is my goal to empower students as active participants in their geography and GIS education while providing authentic learning experiences, where students and I explore, discover, create, and apply knowledge to support the well-being of communities.


  • GEOG 1103 (Spatial Thinking),
  • GEOG 4110 (GIS for Nonmajors),
  • GEOG 4131/5131 (Environmental Modeling with GIS)