Council Member Maria Palmer

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PHOTO Maria Palmer 303 Forbush Mtn. Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-1910
Phone: 919-933-0259

Twitter: @CouncilWomanMP

Term of Service



Maria Teresa Unger Palmer is a minister and an educator with varied experiences in settings from daycare through college. She is a former pastor, high school teacher, counselor, school principal, and college administrator, and is currently starting a consulting business in Latino Education and Hispanic Outreach. Her goal is to bring together students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community leaders to ensure the success of all students.

Dr. Maria T. Palmer received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2003 after completing a research project and dissertation on the schooling experience of Latina immigrant students. She was also Rockefeller Fellow at UNC's Center for International Studies (now the FedEx Global Education Center) after graduation. Dr. Palmer’s research has since been presented at the Harvard Center for Civil Rights, the Carolina Center for Educational Excellence, and the national meeting of the American Educational Research Association. She has also helped communities apply its lessons through workshops at schools and advocacy training.

She established the first Spanish Immersion preschool in North Carolina (1996), served the state of North Carolina as a member of the State Board of Education (1998-2005) and served as director of the Multicultural Student Center at NC A&T State University in Greensboro from 2006 to 2012.


  • Cemeteries Advisory Board
  • Council Committee on Affordable Housing
  • Firefighters’ Relief Fund
  • Intergovernmental Parks Work Group (OC)
  • Orange Water and Sewer Authority (Interview Committee)
  • Parks, Greenways and Recreation Commission
  • Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board


The primary mission of the Mayor and Council, as the governing body of the Town is to adopt and provide for the execution of ordinances, rules and regulations as may be necessary or appropriate to protect health, life or property, or to promote the comfort, convenience, security, good order, better government, or the general welfare of the Town and its citizens.

The Mayor and eight Council Members constitute the governing body of the Town. In accordance with the Town’s Charter, the voters elect a Mayor every two years. Council Members are elected to four-year, staggered terms on an at-large basis. Town Council duties include:

  • Amendment of previously adopted policies through changes in the Town Code of Ordinances and the Development Ordinance, and by revision of policies and documents.
  • Appointment of advisory boards, commissions, task forces and committees.
  • Appointment of the Town Manager and Town Attorney.
  • Establishment of agreements with other governments.
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