Tri-County EMC Selects James Kenan High School Teacher for Prestigious Kenan Fellowship

DUDLEY, N.C. – Erica Levai, a science teacher at James Kenan High School with Duplin County Schools, has been named a 2020-21 Kenan Fellow. Her fellowship is made possible through a partnership between Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University.

Levai, who has been teaching for 10 years, is among the 19 teachers from across North Carolina selected to participate in the 2020-21 fellowship year. Beginning in June, she will partner with mentors and industry experts at Tri-County EMC, based in Dudley, to explore how power is generated and delivered to members and communities served by the cooperative. Levai will learn the history of the electric cooperative model and see firsthand how Tri-County EMC is innovating its services and enhancing systems to continue to meet, and exceed, the expectations of its members.

“The experience will provide me with the tools and resources needed to provide my students with STEM experiences in the classroom,” said Levai.

Levai will transfer this knowledge to her students by creating lessons that will help them understand how electricity is produced and delivered to their homes. Her lessons will also increase their awareness of various career pathways in the energy field and at the cooperative.

“Tri-County EMC is committed to the educational flourish of students in the communities we serve, and we are thrilled to have Ms. Levai join us this summer to expand her knowledge of our electric cooperative,” said Mike Davis, General Manager with Tri-County EMC. “This partnership with the Kenan Fellows Program is a wonderful opportunity not only for the cooperative and Ms. Levai, but the students as well”.

As part of the award, Kenan Fellows receive a $5,000 stipend and participate in 80 hours of professional development focused on project-based learning, digital learning, and leadership development. Educators who complete the year-long program remain in the classroom while growing professionally as part of a statewide network of teacher leaders. Today, an elite network of 493 Kenan Fellows are working to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education in North Carolina and beyond.

“Thanks to the support of industry leaders such as Tri-County EMC and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, we are able to empower more teachers to ignite students’ passion for STEM in more locations across the state,” said Dr. Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership. “Their support also allows us to provide educators with knowledge of local career opportunities available to students and strengthens collaboration with industry. This is especially important in rural communities.”

About Tri-County EMC: Tri-County EMC is a not-for-profit rural electric utility cooperative that provides safe, efficient electric energy to members of Wayne, Duplin, Lenoir, Johnston, Jones, Sampson and Wilson counties.

About North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives: North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives collectively power the lives of approximately 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties. For more information, visit

About the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership: Established in 2000 as an initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University, the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership addresses the critical need for high-quality professional development for educators and is the largest (science, technology, engineering, and math) STEM-focused teacher fellowship in North Carolina. The fellowships are made possible through the generous support of the program’s many corporate, education, and foundation partners.