Burroughs Wellcome Fund Selects Two NC educators for Kenan Fellowships Focused on Diversity Initiatives

RALEIGH, N.C. – Two North Carolina educators have been named 2021–22 Kenan Fellows through a partnership between the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University. The teachers are among a group of 27 educators statewide in the 2021-22 cohort of Kenan Fellows.

Susan Miller-Hendrix, an educator with the Public Schools of Robeson County, will intern this summer with Dr. Heddy Clark, the director of the STEM Learning Cooperative in the Watson College of Education at UNC-Wilmington and Executive Director of STEM SENC. Miller-Hendrix will work with Clark to create resources for the STEM SENC Diversity and Equity Asset Mapping Project, which seeks to gather information on organizations, industry partners, and resources that can be utilized to improve pathways and access to educators with a focus on creating a more diverse representation in the STEM SENC service area.

Yetta Williams, a teacher at Spring Valley Elementary School with Durham Public Schools, will intern with N.C. DPI Superintendent’s Office of Educator Engagement, No Kid Hungry NC, and Village of Wisdom, to create resources that that align with the six elements of the Black Genius created by the Village of Wisdom, and show how elements such as social justice appear in agri-educational environments and food justice work.

“The Kenan Fellows Program provides a wonderful opportunity for further development of educator leadership and supporting the integration of diversity initiatives is a great investment for framing solutions around equity, access, and opportunity”, states Alfred Mays, director and chief strategist for diversity and STEM education at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Kenan fellowships are awarded through a competitive application process. As part of the fellowship, the educators will attend a series of professional learning institutes focused on project-based learning, digital learning and leadership development. Teachers remain in the classroom while completing the yearlong fellowship. Educators 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, Kenan Fellows lead pro-actively within their schools and districts. Many become empowered to influence and lead educational innovation at state and national levels.

“Thanks to the support of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, we are able to contribute to the development of strategies and initiatives that will create more equitable opportunities for all students,” said Dr. Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership. “This is the third consecutive year, we have been able to partner with the Burroughs Wellcome Fund on this effort and we hope to build on our shared success.”