The Knox Education Foundation has surprised 15 teachers and six principals with TeacherPreneur and PrincipalPreneur grants totaling $150,000 – the largest amount yet to go to Knox County teachers and principals to fund their innovative ideas. Knox Education Foundation expanded its grant program this year, launching PrincipalPreneur as a sister program to its successful TeacherPreneur program, now in its seventh year.
“KnoxEd is thrilled to expand the TeacherPreneur opportunity to our Knox County principals,” said Chris Letsos, Knox Education Foundation’s CEO. “A unique element with PrincipalPreneur is that we’ll be pairing our winning principals with local entrepreneurs through the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, providing new perspectives on their innovative proposals.”
Knox Education Foundation partners with the Knox County Schools’ Office of Teaching and Learning to select each year’s winners. This year, 54 teachers and principals applied for grants, 21 were chosen. The top three focuses this year were student achievement, creating a positive culture and eliminating disparities. With this year’s awards, more than $817,000 has been awarded to 108 Knox County teachers and administrators since TeacherPreneur started in 2013.
The largest 2020 PrincipalPreneur award went to L&N STEM Academy principal Jimm Allen. Allen will receive $20,000 to fund his winning entry to promote student collaboration with the local community through the creation of a new Fabrication and Prototyping Lab. The L&N Prototype Lab is a unique space for the students at L&N. Their plan will engage the local community to push student learning in new directions. Allen’s plan is to use part of the grant funds for “StudentPreneur” funding, allowing the high school students to apply for funds to create prototypes to creatively problem-solve.
Another of the largest 2020 TeacherPreneur grants went to Carter High School librarian/teacher Emily Briano. Briano will receive $8,100 for the creation of a Future Lab, an entirely new space in the school’s library to expose students to post-secondary opportunities. Carter’s library space has not been renovated in over 30 years. The space will offer students help with their resumes and college applications, virtual college tours and interviews, and create unique opportunities for students and parents to learn together.
Grant winners are:
Hannah Rudder, Dogwood Elementary, $2,000
Amanda Gentry, Sarah Moore Greene Magnet, $10,000
Aaron Moody, Green Magnet, $2,000
Tiffany Collins, Green Magnet, $8,100
Desiree Jones, Vine Middle Magnet, $6,500
Scott Stooksbury, Vine Middle Magnet, $12,000
Sarah Johnson, Beaumont Magnet, $5,000
Windy Clayton, Beaumont Magnet, $17,200
Jimm Allen, L&N STEM, $20,000
Debbie Bretscher, L&N STEM, $2,200
Crystal Dougan, Gresham Middle & Powell Middle, $12,000
Dexter Murphy, Maynard Elementary School, $5,000
Jennifer Gahan, Fair Garden Early Learning, $1,500
Frank Chen, Hardin Valley Academy, $14,300
Laurie Stansbury, Cedar Bluff Elementary, $5,000
Shelly McGill, Amherst Elementary, $7,700
Emily Briano, Carter High School, $8,100
Tiffany Watkins, Gap Creek Elementary, $1,600
Jennifer Bowes, South Knox Elementary, $2,200
Jessica Sander, Mooreland Heights Elementary, $2,000
Emily Haendel, Halls Middle, $5,600
Bridget Correll Waller owns BCW Business Solutions, an affiliate of SRW & Associates.