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Kenan Fellows collaborates with Biogen Foundation to 
empower teacher leaders in Rural NC

The following is a press release from the Kenan Fellows Program

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is pleased to announce it has received a $100,000 grant from the Biogen Foundation to build the professional capacity of outstanding teachers as they then begin to lead their peers.

As part of their grant, the Biogen Foundation is serving as the Lead Champion of the Kenan Fellows Program’s inaugural North Carolina Teacher Leadership Symposium, exclusively for K-12 educators in Eastern North Carolina. The one-day event on Tuesday, Aug. 1 at the Hilton Greenville will feature concurrent sessions on project-based learning, using marketing strategies in the classroom, technology integration, interdisciplinary learning, building leadership capacity, inquiry instruction, and more. Educators in the Kenan Fellows Alumni Network will lead the one-day symposium. These talented Fellows have developed expertise across a wide variety of innovative and effective educational practices that are particularly pertinent to teachers who seek to grow professionally and have a powerful impact in and beyond the classroom.

“The Biogen Foundation wants to inspire the next generation of scientists who will tackle the challenging issues of tomorrow,” said Chris Barr, executive director of the Biogen Foundation. “We want young people to know that science is accessible for everyone, and that they can change the world through science.  We know that one of the best ways to reach the most students is to support the teachers who serve as mentors every day.”

As Lead Champion, the Biogen Foundation has made it possible for the Kenan Fellows Program to provide this symposium at no cost to attendees. The event includes professional development sessions, lunch, keynote speakers, , and a networking reception. Registration is open to K-12 educators from 27 Eastern North Carolina school districts including: Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Pitt, Tyrrell, Washington, and Wilson.

“Rural teachers often do not have the same opportunities for high-quality professional development as teachers in urban areas. Because they are isolated, they also might not have access to other educators in similar content areas, making it harder for them to take advantage of the benefits of professional learning communities and networks,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program. “This project addresses the need to develop, empower, and retain high-quality educators in rural parts of the state who can make learning more authentic and relevant for students.” 

The Biogen Foundation is also serving as the Lead Champion of the Kenan Fellows Program’s Professional Development Institutes during the 2017-18 cohort. The Program selects outstanding educators through a competitive application process, and provides them with an immersive learning experience in STEM-connected industries and research facilities. Teachers who complete the one-year fellowship say they feel a deeper connection to their community and become empowered to influence and lead educational innovation beyond their classroom.


About the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership: The Kenan Fellows Program is funded by the generous support of its many corporate, education and foundation sponsors. Established in 2000, the program is a K-12 education initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University, and is the largest (science, technology, engineering and math) STEM-focused teacher leadership program in North Carolina. Visit to learn more. 

About Biogen Foundation: 

The mission of the Biogen Foundation is to provide access to science education and essential human services to children and their families in the communities in which Biogen operates. We are committed to sparking a passion for science and discovery, supporting effective science education initiatives, and strengthening efforts to make science education and science careers accessible to diverse populations.  Visit to learn more. 


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.