About Us

Founded in 2000, the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at NC State University addresses the critical need for high-quality professional development for educators, and is the largest (science, technology, engineering and math) STEM-focused teacher leadership program in North Carolina.

What We Do

The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership bridges the professional worlds of education and industry through strategic partnerships between high-performing educators and experts in research, business and industry. These partnerships empower teachers to create relevant and authentic learning experiences for students that spark their curiosity, build essential skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, as well as introduce them to local career pathways.

Approximately 20-30 outstanding K–12 teachers statewide are selected annually for this work-based learning program. The fellowship is open to K-12 public and charter school educators across all content areas. Key components are a three-week summer internship with a mentor in a research or applied STEM setting, and 80 hours of professional development that builds leadership capacity and promotes cross-curricular teaching and learning.

Leveraging Our Network

The year-long fellowship is the core component of the program, and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership leverages its network of 500 plus alumni to facilitate special professional learning programs, seminars, and symposiums, including its newest initiative, STEMwork, a blended professional development model that focuses on implementing project-based learning units that are relevant to local STEM careers and businesses.

Additionally, alumni serve on the editorial board for the Journal of Interdisciplinary Teacher Leadership, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by the Kenan Fellows Program, and serve as members of the professional development faculty, who plan and facilitate the professional learning institutes for the current cohort of Kenan Fellows.


Advance K-12 STEM education by providing educators with relevant, real-world professional learning and leadership development, through innovative collaborations with partners committed to 21st-century education and workforce preparation.


Kenan Fellows form and enhance innovative communities of learning that inspire students and prepare them for an ever-changing world.


Established from a community effort to address the retention of effective math and science teachers in the Research Triangle region. Today, the Kenan Fellows Program is nationally recognized as a model for industry-education partnerships to introduce STEM workforce development across subjects for all K-12 educators.


We connect high-performing K-12 educators with experts in North Carolina’s industries, universities, and community colleges to enrich learning opportunities for all students. These mutually beneficial collaborations better prepare our students for their chosen career paths through a greater understanding of the skills required to be successful.

Proven Leadership

Compared to a similar teacher leadership program, Kenan Fellows outperformed their peers in terms of leading professional development for other educators. According to an independent research study, Kenan Fellows were almost twice as likely to lead professional development, and a majority of Kenan Fellows reported higher instances of collaboration among peers through professional learning communities.


Kenan Fellows develop strong communication and advocacy skills.  They engage with other educators, community leaders, and policymakers to promote high-quality instruction in our schools. Today, there are over 500 Kenan Fellows across North Carolina and beyond.

Awards & Accomplishments

  • Named 2019, 2017 and 2016 STEM Higher Education Partner of the Year by STEM RTP
  • Winner of the 2010 Partnership Award by the NC Science, Mathematics  and Technology Education Center
  • Nine Kenan Fellow are winners of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Science & Mathematics Teachers
  • Seven Kenan Fellows have won the Outstanding Educator Award in Science,  Mathematics and Technology Education  presented by the NC Science, Mathematics  and Technology Education Center
  • Four Kenan Fellows have received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
  • Three Kenan Fellows have been selected  for the prestigious national Albert Einstein Distinguished Educators Fellowship
  • Two Kenan Fellows have helped produce animated lessons for TED-Ed, an online global initiative of TED, the nonprofit famous for its TED Talks