November 17, 2015 – The Charlotte Hornets, Lowe's and FOX Sports Southeast, in partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools Foundation, will award a total of $44,000 in Teacher Innovation Fund grants to 12 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers to support the implementation of dynamic ideas to educate students. The teachers will receive the grants during a ceremony at halftime of the Hornets game against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Time Warner Cable Arena.
“Education is a vital part of our community, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to be able to lend our support to this group of outstanding teachers as they educate our youth,” said Hornets President & COO Fred Whitfield. “We are thankful to have the support of our great partners at Lowe’s and Fox Sports Southeast as we work to have a positive impact on the growth of the young people of our community.”
The Teacher Innovation Fund grants will go to the following Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers:
Bryant Bailey, health and physical education teacher, Reid Park Academy – $5,000 to fund a fitness lab and D.R.E.A.M. team club that inspires and promotes healthy lifestyle choices among elementary school students.
Marygrace Blubaugh, technology associate, J.M. Morehead STEM Academy – $5,000 to fund the purchase of technological equipment for the production of professional character education morning announcements.
Judy Caudle, media specialist, Trillium Springs Montessori School – $3,000 to fund the creation of a Maker Space in the school’s media center, fostering a hands-on learning experience whereby students actively engage in technology, robotics, visual arts and practical life skills.
Whitney Godfrey, science teacher, River Gate Elementary School – $5,000 to fund LEGO robotics kits and 3-D printers for an all-girls STEM club designed to close the achievement gap between girls and boys in math and science.
Rebeckah Hauss, transition teacher, Metro School – $5,000 to fund the creation of in-school businesses and field trips for special needs students to practice job skills and receive hands-on career training.
Kathryn Heinen and Bernadette MacLeod, choir and theatre teachers, East Mecklenburg High School – $5,000 to fund the interdisciplinary musical production of “Footloose” and create a sustaining arts programming tradition at the school.
Eboné Lockett and Curtis L. Overton, English and CTE technology education teachers, West Mecklenburg High School – $5,000 to fund a 3D carving machine for in-house production of stage sets, props and supplies to open and stock a school store.
Chandra McCloud, dance teacher, Northwest School of the Arts – $5,000 to fund the Northwest School of the Arts Repertory Scholarship Concert, which provides dance students the opportunity to collaborate with professional choreographers, develop networking and resume writing skills, perform in a professional venue and earn scholarships.
Michael Realon, career and community development coordinator, Olympic Community of Schools – $5,000 to support Olympic’s Habitat for Humanity home build by funding relocation of the home to its permanent location and student stipends for paid fundraising and construction internships.
Michael W. Schultz, history teacher, East Mecklenburg High School – $1,000 to fund a traveling museum exhibit from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History about the 1960s Freedom Riders and Civil Rights Movements in the school’s media center to increase exposure to literary resources and awareness about the Civil Rights Movement.
“Lowe’s believes education plays a critical role in a thriving community,” said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe’s director of community relations. “Teachers are the foundation of the educational system and play a dominant role in the future academic success of our youth. We recognize the needs teachers may have to truly make an impact and are pleased to partner with the Hornets and FOX Sports to support their efforts.”
Through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools Foundation, the Hornets, Lowe’s and FOX Sports Southeast will award a total of $250,000 in Teacher Innovation Fund grants to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers from 2014-2016. This is the third cycle of grants distributed. The three organizations previously awarded a total of $37,200 to 10 teachers in January 2015 and a total of $41,200 to nine teachers in April 2015.
“The Teacher Innovation Fund empowers teachers to provide the best educational experience possible to students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community,” said Jeff Genthner, Senior Vice President and General Manager for FOX Sports Southeast. “We value our ongoing partnership with the Hornets and take great pride in supporting the Charlotte Hornets Foundation.”
In addition to the Teacher Innovation Fund grant program launched in June 2014, the Hornets have a history of partnering with both Lowe’s and FOX Sports Southeast around education-related initiatives. In December 2014, the Hornets and Lowe’s awarded a total of $50,000 in education-related refurbishment grants to 40 Book Project ($10,000), Arts & Science Council ($5,000), Children’s Theatre of Charlotte ($10,000), JA BizTown ($10,000), UNC Charlotte Foundation ($5,000) and YWCA of Central Carolinas ($10,000). The Hornets and Lowe’s teamed up in September 2014 to paint and renovate the Marsh Road Boys & Girls Club. In April 2013, the Hornets and Lowe’s launched the Book Bus, a full-service literacy bus that travels throughout Charlotte year-round to encourage reading and distribute books to area youth. The renovated school bus helps increase opportunities for literacy and learning in underserved communities. In March 2013, the Hornets and FOX Sports Southeast partnered to donate $200,000 to the YMCA’s Y Achievers program and provide a total of $30,000 in college scholarships to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students participating in the Y Achievers program.
“We are fortunate to have such a strong partnership with the Charlotte Hornets. We appreciate everything they do to support our teachers and for recognizing the difference a great teacher can make in the life of a child,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Ann Clark. “We believe their generous investment in our teachers’ professional growth will help raise the achievement of all students.”