Kenan Fellows Program awarded GSK grant to advance teacher leadership in STEM Education

RALEIGH, N.C., (May 9, 2019) – The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is pleased to announce a six-figure charitable grant from GSK to support five Triangle area educators, who will receive leadership training to drive innovations in STEM education and help students embrace work-based applications in math and science. The teachers, known as GSK Kenan STEM Fellows, are part of the 2019-20 cohort of Kenan Fellows.

Kenan Fellows are outstanding public school teachers selected through a competitive process to participate in a prestigious one-year fellowship while remaining active in the classroom. During the year, Kenan Fellows partner with industry experts to develop curriculum and teaching resources that bring workforce preparedness and cutting-edge research into the hands of students.

“We are proud to support the development of teachers in the Kenan Fellows program who will help to prepare the next generation of STEM professionals,” said Becki Lynch, Director of US Community Partnerships at GSK.

Starting in June, the teachers will participate in three-week internships in Triangle area businesses to make “real-world” connections to their instruction. They will immerse themselves in the following Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields: environmental science, engineering, construction, high-tech, and biomanufacturing and chemical research and development. Pairing educators with researchers and industry experts for a summer internship empowers the teachers to deepen their content knowledge, embrace new technology and more effectively prepare students to build career-ready skills.

“Thanks to the continued level of support from industry leaders such as GSK, we are able to build powerful partnerships between the business, research and education communities in order to spark student interest and excitement in STEM,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership.

The 2019–20 GSK Kenan STEM Fellows are:

  • Maggie Gaines-Hackney, an English Language Arts and English as a Second Language teacher, at Greenwood Elementary School in Lee County Schools, will explore how robotic automation at Mertek Solutions, Inc. is revolutionizing the manufacturing process and share her experience via a dynamic and engaging curriculum that reflects the insights gained and processes observed in her internship. Gaines-Hackney has been teaching for seven years and has a B.A. in Mass Communications from Methodist University. “Teaching in a rural school district allows me to use this opportunity to introduce my students to new information and experiences they might otherwise go without,” Gaines-Hackney said.
  • Summer Hill, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Brogden Middle School in Durham Public Schools, has been teaching for 13 years and has an M.Ed. in Education-Curriculum and Instruction from N.C. State University. She will partner with Holt Brothers Construction for a project titled “Building Community with the Holt Brothers” where she will look for ways to bring work-based skills back to the classroom. “In order for schools to prepare students, they must be up to date on what various industries look like today,” Hill said.
  • Kathleen Janes, a second-grade teacher at E.K. Powe Elementary School in Durham Public Schools, has been teaching for six years. Janes has a B.A. in Public Policy and History from UNC-Chapel Hill and an M.S. in Education Studies from John Hopkins University. For her fellowship, she will work with the STEM Outreach Program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to learn about cutting-edge research at EPA’s Research Triangle Park campus and how this research can be translated into resources that can be used in formal and informal education settings. “Working with a mentor, I hope to translate their work and research process to my students,” said Janes.
  • Miranda Pierce, a fifth-grade math teacher at Envision Science Academy in Wake Forest, will partner with Novozymes on a fellowship project called, “Novozymes Enzymes: From Discovery to Commercialization.” Pierce has been teaching for six years and has a B.S. in Deaf Education from UNC-Greensboro. “As educators, our job is not only teaching students the standards-based curriculum, but also the interpersonal skills needed to thrive in a globalized economy,” said Pierce.
  • Daniel Thayer, an educator for Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students at Charles W. Stanford Middle School in Orange County Schools, will engage in hands-on laboratory research alongside a mentor at LORD Corporation in order to translate his experience into problem-based learning and engaging hands-on student projects. Thayer has been teaching for five years and has a M.A.T in Social Studies from N.C. State University. “This opportunity will provide me with a deeper understanding of what talents students need to cultivate for the workforce of the future,” Thayer said.

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