Two Durham Public Schools Teachers Selected for Prestigious Kenan Fellowship

DURHAM, N.C. – Jacqueline Brown and Madison Wagner, two teachers in the Durham Public Schools school district, have been named as 2020-21 Kenan Fellows. Their fellowships were made possible through an ongoing partnership between the Biogen Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham & Orange Counties, and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University to build the professional capacity of North Carolina teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Brown and Wagner are among a group of 19 teachers from across North Carolina who have been selected to participate in the 2020-21 fellowship year.

Brown has been teaching for three years and is a career and technical education teacher at Sherwood Githens Middle School. Wagner has been teaching for five years and is a science teacher at Northern High School. Beginning June, they will partner with neuroscience research pioneers at Biogen and the Dreamkeepers at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties to develop STEM-based, hands-on activities and fun lessons for the Boys & Girls Club’s STEM Fridays initiative. This initiative aims to increase students’ interest in STEM subjects, leading to higher academic performance, participation in the classroom, and interest in STEM careers.

“The Biogen Foundation is committed to sparking a passion for science and discovery in students from all backgrounds and we understand that this spark starts with teachers,” said Dr. Juan Torres, SVP, Chief Quality Officer and Biogen Foundation committee member. “Our hope is that if we can provide teachers with innovative tools and ways of teaching, we can help to unlock more opportunities for students and show them what’s possible with science. We are proud of our work with the Kenan Fellows Program to provide educators with these resources and are looking forward to working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties to foster appreciation for STEM.” 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 STEM education in North Carolina and beyond.

“Thanks to the support of industry leaders such as the Biogen Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties, we are able to empower more teachers to ignite students’ passion for STEM,” said Dr. Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program. “Their support also allows us to provide educators with knowledge of local career opportunities available to students and strengthens collaboration with the industry.”