Kenan Fellows Program partners with Facebook to advance K-12 STEM workforce education in Western NC

FOREST CITY, N.C. – The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is pleased to announce it has received a grant from Facebook to support two teachers in Western North Carolina who will receive leadership training to drive innovations in STEM education and help students build career-ready skills. Once selected, the teachers will be part of the 2021-22 cohort of Kenan Fellows.
The Kenan Fellows Program connects outstanding educators with mentors in local industry and business settings, creating opportunities that build meaningful relationships. Kenan Fellows spend three weeks on-site with their mentor company in a summer internship where they make relevant connections between their classroom and authentic STEM practices in the workplace. Over the course of the fellowship, educators develop a deeper understanding of local industries, their workforce needs, and how they can make relevant connections for their students.
The two teachers will be selected from the Henderson, Rutherford, Polk, McDowell, or Cleveland county school systems. This is the second year Facebook has supported Kenan Fellows. Last year, two Polk County teachers were awarded fellowships. This grant will allow Facebook’s partnership with Kenan Fellows to continue to grow.
“We believe that the future lives in STEM, which is why it’s so critically important for students to make relevant connections between their classwork and STEM practices in the workplace,” explained Katie Comer, Community Development Regional Manager for Facebook. “That connection is sparked by the amazing teachers in our community. It’s why Facebook is proud to support the valuable work and mentorship offered through the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership.”Rutherford County in Western North Carolina is home to Facebook’s Forest City Data Center, which broke ground in 2010.

The fellowships are awarded through a competitive application process. Once selected, educators will develop curriculum and teaching resources that bring workforce preparedness and cutting-edge research into the hands of students. As part of the fellowship, the educators participate in two-residential professional learning institutes focused on project-based learning, digital learning and leadership development. Teachers who complete the program say they feel a deeper connection to their community and grow professionally as part of a statewide network of teacher leaders. As their leadership skills grow, Fellows lead pro-actively within their schools and their districts. Many become empowered to influence and lead educational innovation at state and national levels.

“Because of industry supporters like Facebook, we are able to provide teachers with the skills needed to build industry-education partnerships that make stronger connections between desirable workforce skills and classroom content,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership.

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 5, 2021. To apply, visit The awards will be announced in May during National Teacher Appreciation Week.