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Grant Supports Master Teachers

Outstanding public school teachers in 11 North Carolina counties will partner with leading researchers at North Carolina State University to develop new curricula for schools across the state through teacher fellowships established by a $1.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF)  grant to the Kenan Fellows Program.

“This 11-county region is bursting with growth and opportunity, so we must continue to help our best teachers build their leadership skills which will pay dividends in the classroom for students,” said Gov. Bev Perdue.  “These Master Teachers will help prepare our kids for a 21st century workforce, and they will help develop new teachers in the region.”

The Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development, an initiative of NC State’s Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science, has received an NSF grant to establish fellowships for the most outstanding K-12 teachers in the 11-county Base Realignment and Closure/Regional Task Force (BRAC RTF) area.  NC State’s Chancellor James Oblinger states, “The Kenan Fellows Program is a proven, innovative example of NC State’s statewide impact, particularly at the K-12 level.  This grant will extend the program’s reach, providing unique opportunities for learning through collaborative research and enhanced curriculum development.  NC State is proud to be a part of this program’s success.”

“Expanding the Kenan Fellows Program to our region’s best teachers will be an excellent opportunity for these educators to engage with the STEM research community and share valuable lessons with students across the 11 counties and throughout the state,” said Paul Dordal, executive director of the BRAC Regional Task Force.

The region surrounding Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base includes Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Moore, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson and Scotland counties. The BRAC RTF was established to identify and advocate for the needs of these counties, along with military, corporate, non-profit and government agencies.

This five-year grant from NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program will allow the Kenan Master Teaching Fellows Program (KMTF) to link experienced teachers with university, industry and community college researchers.  As a result of this grant, teachers will become more informed about important new scientific developments, build their leadership skills and develop curricula that support economic development sectors unique to the region such as aerospace, sustainable energy/green technologies and advanced medical technologies.

The KMTF will complete two-year fellowships and subsequently engage in a range of leadership activities in their home districts to benefit other teachers, administrators and students during their three years as Alumni Master Teachers. As Master Teachers, they will also assist in local schools of education in the preparation of new teachers.

“The William R. Kenan, Jr. Fund for Engineering, Technology and Science is very proud of its role as the original funder of the Kenan Fellows Program. We are particularly pleased that the National Science Foundation shares our commitment to the support of teachers of science and mathematics and has recognized the Kenan Institute’s success with a grant that will enable the program to expand,” says Dr. Richard M. Krasno, President of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Fund for Engineering, Technology and Science.

The National Science Board’s recommendations to the Obama administration emphasized the critical need for upgrades in the nation’s commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Skilled teachers, solid tools and resources are essential to the task. The Kenan Master Teaching Fellows Program will help achieve this by:

• Building a network of highly trained and influential master STEM teachers

• Engaging talented researchers in an effort to update the content knowledge of K-12 STEM teachers

• Working to align the efforts of institutions of higher education, local school districts, regional economic/workforce development organizations and industry

• Helping teachers prepare students for 21st century careers

• Contributing to the development of new teachers

A steering committee made up of Kenan Fellows Program staff and local partners, including educators, researchers, community and business leaders and the Fort Bragg/Pope Air Force Base BRAC RTF, will guide this effort to ensure that the opportunities afforded by this grant are effective and sustainable beyond the five-year grant period.

This award was made possible with support from the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science/William R. Kenan, Jr.  Fund for Engineering, Technology and Science, NC State, Fort Bragg/Pope Air Force Base BRAC Regional Task Force, local school districts, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, and business and community leaders.

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