EDENTON, N.C. – LeAnn Nixon, a second-grade teacher at White Oak School with Edenton-Chowan Schools, has been named a 2021–22 Kenan Fellow. Her fellowship was made possible through a partnership between Chowan County Farm Bureau, North Carolina Farm Bureau and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University.
Nixon, who has been teaching for seven years and has her National Board Certification, is among the 2021-22 cohort of 27 Kenan Fellows statewide. During the summer, she will intern with industry experts from NC Farm Bureau, the Chowan County Farm Bureau, and local peanut growers to learn all about the peanut industry in North Carolina. Through this experience, she will create the content for a North Carolina Peanut Ag Mag which can be digitally dispersed, printed, and distributed. The Peanut Ag Mag will provide facts and activities allowing readers to develop an understanding of the state’s peanut industry as one of the top producing states in the nation.
“Farm Bureau is proud to be a key partner in this teaching fellowship, and involved in the development of resources and materials that teach children and adults about the diversity of agriculture in our state. We are excited to work on a project that showcases our peanut industry. North Carolina is one of the top 5 producers of peanuts nationally and it is an important cash crop particularly for farmers in the eastern part of our state. It is highly likely, no matter where you live, if you ate a handful of salty peanuts, those peanuts were grown on a farm here in North Carolina.”
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.
“By interning in a local industry, Kenan Fellows gain valuable insights into the skills students will need to be successful in college and careers,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program. “With the support of partners such as the Chowan County Farm Bureau and the North Carolina Farm Bureau we are able to reach more educators in rural areas where teachers often have fewer opportunities for professional learning.”