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NC Teachers Win Governor’s Educator Discovery Awards

The following is a press release from the office of Governor Roy Cooper 


Six North Carolina educators have won Governor’s Educator Discovery Awards to help strengthen their work in schools, Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Business Committee for Education announced. The winning teachers will each receive $1,000 to pay for professional development to help them better prepare their students for future careers.

“Thanks to these grants, teachers will be able to bring new knowledge and skills back to their students,” Governor Cooper said. “Professional development helps educators become better teachers and connect classroom lessons with career success for students.”

The Governor’s Educator Discovery Award provides a stipend of up to $1,000 for PreK-12 traditional public and public charter school teachers to pursue a professional development experience of their choosing. There have now been eight rounds of teachers to receive the award and brings the total number of grants awarded to twenty-four. Winning teachers are selected from an impressive and growing applicant pool, demonstrating a strong interest in the program and the opportunities it provides.

The latest teachers to receive grants will use their Governor’s Educator Discovery Award for these professional development opportunities:

Sarah Rhymer-Clayton, an agriculture and animal science teacher in Brevard, will take a course to become certified in cattle artificial insemination. This course provides classroom training as well as necessary hands-on training with live animals. The knowledge and training from this experience will be shared with students and put to use on Brevard High School’s own herd of cattle at the Brevard FFA farm.

Mary Kennan Eaddy, a lead counselor and workforce development coordinator in Lincolnton, will take a team of seven Lincoln County counselors to the North Carolina School Counselors’ Association Fall Conference. This conference offers a variety of sessions surrounding academic, personal/social, and career development. This year’s theme is, “All in for SEL (Students, Equity, and Leadership).”

Candace Hamilton, a middle school language arts teacher in Fayetteville, will attend the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. The conference invites teachers, researchers, and leaders from K–12 and higher education to learn and discuss this year’s theme, “Equity, Justice, and Anti-Racist Teaching.” 

Rachel Johnson, a career technical education teacher specializing in game art, digital, and video design in High Point, will take a course in Unreal Engine Game Design Basics through Studio Arts in Los Angeles. Unreal Engine is a 3-D creation tool used in multiple industries such as architecture and construction, civil engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, graphic design, interior design, and game development. This course will be led by industry professionals and cover the fundamentals of Unreal Engine for game design.

Andrea Perrone, a K-5 music teacher in Chapel Hill, will attend “Hip Hop in the Music Room,” a workshop presented by the Central Carolina Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. This music education workshop showcases the Orff-Schulwerk approach to teaching and learning, which focuses on imitation, experimentation, and personal expression in the pursuit of personal and musical growth. Educators will learn how to use the passion of Hip Hop to connect with students and create a new, engaging learning environment.

Denise Weinhoeft-Renfro, a STEM teacher and director of the Academy of Green Technology in Fayetteville, will attend a workshop on lithium battery processing and mining presented by the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill through their Energy Literacy Fellows program. This event has opportunities to hear from guest speakers, tour lithium battery facilities, and develop online lesson plans with a cohort of teachers. 

The Governor’s Educator Discovery Awards are funded by companies that are members of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE). NCBCE is a business-led, education non-profit (501-c3) that operates out of the Office of the Governor. Since 1983, NCBCE has provided a critical link between North Carolina business leaders and the state’s education decision-makers, helping to create connections between the education curriculum and the overall work readiness of people across the state. 

“NCBCE members know how important it is to support teachers across our state. This award provides educators with the opportunity to choose professional development that they can use in their classroom, making it possible to bring new ideas, concepts, and strategies to engage students.” said NCBCE Board Chair, Lilyn Hester. 

To be eligible for the Governor’s Educator Discovery Awards, teachers submit a proposal with details about their teaching experience, the professional development activity they wish to pursue, and how it would enhance their efforts to create a work-based learning activity for their students. 

The next cycle will open soon. Submissions are thoroughly reviewed by a panel of business leaders and educators. Awardees will be notified of their selection via the phone number or email address provided in their application. 

To learn more about the Governor’s Educator Discovery Awards or submit an application, click HERE.

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