SHALLOTTE, N.C.– Ashanda Grissett, a ninth-grade environmental science teacher at The Center of Applied Sciences and Technology (The COAST) in Brunswick County Schools, has been awarded the prestigious 2023-24 Kenan Fellowship.
This opportunity is made possible through a partnership between the Brunswick County Farm Bureau, North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, Ag in the Classroom, and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University.
With 16 years of teaching experience and an M.S. in Education from Pace University, Grissett joins the esteemed cohort of 38 Kenan Fellows for the 2023-24 fellowship year. At her school, Grissett holds multiple leadership roles, serving as a member of the school improvement team, the beginning teacher site coordinator, and the FIRST Robotics club coach.
“I’m thrilled about this opportunity to broaden my knowledge of the local oyster industry and bring its relevance into my classroom,” Grissett said. “As a science teacher who loves the beach, I’m passionate about informing my students about the phenomenal world around them, especially the incredible opportunities in their local environment.”
During the summer, Grissett will partner with local oyster producers to delve into North Carolina’s thriving oyster industry. Drawing from her hands-on experience, she will create a North Carolina Oysters Ag Mag, a digital and print resource based on the successful North Carolina Ag Mags model. Packed with facts and activities, this STEM-supported teaching tool will provide students with insights into North Carolina’s 14-million-dollar oyster industry.
North Carolina Farm Bureau President Shawn Harding noted the importance of agricultural literacy through this partnership, “Partnering with the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership allows our county Farm Bureaus to provide local, real-world experiences for teachers, focusing on our state’s largest economic driver—agriculture. This meets one of our organization’s important missions. We want North Carolinians to have an understanding for agriculture, and the importance of the industry to their lives. These Fellowships provide a bridge between agriculture and education, revealing all of the STEM connections agriculture provides. This NC Oysters Fellowship is a unique opportunity to highlight our state’s growing oyster farming industry while also increasing agricultural literacy for North Carolina students through the distribution of the NC Oysters Ag Mag that Ms. Grissett will create.”
Kenan fellowships are awarded through a rigorous application process. As part of the fellowship, Grissett and other educators will participate in a series of professional learning institutes focused on improving their teaching practice and building leadership capacity, while remaining in their school roles. Completing the yearlong fellowship empowers educators with deeper connections to their community and professional growth as part of a statewide network of teacher leaders.
“Through internships in local industries, Kenan Fellows gain an understanding of the skills students need to succeed in their future careers,” said Vance Kite, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership. “With the support of partners like the Brunswick County Farm Bureau and the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, we are able to reach more educators in underserved areas of the state, where professional learning opportunities for educators are often limited.”
About the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership
The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership (KFP) is a K-12 education initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University. The program aims to enhance the teaching profession by providing educators from all disciplines with immersive experiences in STEM industries and research settings, fostering innovation and excellence in education across North Carolina. To learn more, visit www.kenanfellows.org.
About North Carolina Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom and Brunswick County Farm Bureau
Ag in the Classroom (AITC) is a unique educational program founded and affiliated with North Carolina Farm Bureau (NCFB) in 1985. NCFB was formed in 1936 as a non-profit grassroots general farm organization and along with Brunswick County Farm Bureau, aims to serve farmers and provide a unified voice for the interests and needs of the farming community through special projects and partnerships with AITC.