Citizens Academy


Citizens AcademyThe Wake Forest Citizen’s Academy is a seven-week course designed to offer participants an educational and interactive experience on the workings of Town government.

The curriculum covers current Town programs, services, and procedures, and offers an inside look at several departments, including Public Works, Police, Fire, Communications, Finance, Planning, Engineering, Wake Forest Power, IT, Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources, the Renaissance Centre, and Downtown Development. 

Led by Town staff, each weekly session takes place at a different Town facility. The final session includes a graduation ceremony and reception. 

“Our goal is to provide participants with a foundation of knowledge regarding town government programs and services,” said Strategic Performance Manager Lisa Hayes. “We believe this foundation, cultivated through interaction with Town staff, will serve to create a stronger, more informed community.”

2023 Schedule 

The 2023 Citizen's Academy will meet from 6-8 p.m. Thursdays from September 7-October 19.

A light meal will be provided with each session beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Application Period Closed 

Applicants must be at least 18-years-old and a Wake Forest resident or business owner.  Due to the interactive nature of the course, the academy is limited to 25 participants.

To graduate, participants must attend at least five of seven sessions.

The application deadline for 2023 was Friday, July 14.

Selected applicants will be notified no later than Friday, July 21.

Citizen’s Academy Selection Criteria

  1. Must be 18 years of age or older

  2. Must attend minimum of five sessions to graduate

  3. Written statement of desire to participate

  4. Satisfactory background check

  5. Priority given to residents and business owners, residing or running a business within Town limits

  6. An emphasis will be placed on geographic diversity within the Town of Wake Forest and its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)

Wake Forest Planning 101 is something different 

Wake Forest Planning 101, which focuses on the Town’s planning processes and practices, is currently ongoing.

Student Testimonials

“There was a wide range of people from different points of views. I found it very interesting listening to both men and women, young and seasoned. The time taken to structure and organize each session was well thought out and executed. My most liked aspect of the program has to be the leadership teams….So thank you to all of you that made this experience educational, eye opening, fun, and memorable.”

“It was very educational and a brilliant means to get to meet our town's officials, services workers and neighbors.”

“I want to thank you for the opportunity you've provided each of us. Going behind doors that would have otherwise remained closed. Job well done. This was an awesome experience. I'm going to take what I know and do more.”

“Most neighbors are new to NC. This would be an eye opener to see how fortunate they are to live in Wake Forest because of all that this town offers. We didn’t have a clue when we came here as to all the amenities Wake Forest offered.”

“This was a class act!! Thank you for the privilege of attending. Thank you, Shana and Lisa, and all of those involved in planning this Citizens Academy. I’m grateful and proud to live here.”

“It's a great opportunity to get to know the community, as well as town staff and other community members, especially for newcomers like so many of us were. It also provides avenues for getting more involved in the town itself. It was a great experience, and I am very grateful. Thank you all!”

“Very well organized. This is a direct result of the organizers and staff. Each session had an agenda. During each session the overview, goals, interactions, and opportunities to ask questions was always available. All presentations were well organized and presented.”


Citizens Academy
Organizational Performance Director