The leader of public education in North Carolina will keynote a luncheon in Kinston next month that will help fund grants for Lenoir County teachers.
The luncheon sponsored by the Lenoir County Education Foundation will bring Dr. June Atkinson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, to Kinston on Wednesday, Oct. 26. The fundraiser, to begin at noon at Olivia’s on Caswell Street, supports the Education Foundation’s mini-grant program.
The long-running grant program is supported almost entirely by funds the Education Foundation raises through community events. Last school year, 33 teachers shared in grant awards totaling $10,307. The grants, capped at $500 each, helped fund a variety of learning projects, from school gardens to classroom learning aides to a field trip to Washington, D.C.
The process is very competitive and each year creative grant ideas go unfunded because money for the program is limited, according to Laura Lee Sylvester, executive director of the foundation and president of the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce, its parent group.
“Our local teachers depend on additional resources to pay for much needed educational programs,” Sylvester said. “The Education Foundation is pleased to offer this informative luncheon as a way to fund the mini-grant program.”
Dr. Atkinson comes to the luncheon as an advocate for partnerships between public school systems, their communities and the businesses and corporations that call these communities home.
She has served as the superintendent of public instruction since August 2005 and is the first woman elected to that office. In November 2014, she was named president of the Council of Chief State School Officers.
In leading the Department of Public Instruction, Dr. Atkinson directed the groundbreaking Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort (ACRE) initiative to revitalize the state's curriculum and accountability programs. North Carolina's landmark Race to the Top Grant supported this work in addition to several other key reform initiatives such as transforming low-performing schools. Dr. Atkinson also is focused on ensuring students have the opportunity to learn the technical skills that are important in today's global economy.
“It’s fitting that Dr. Atkinson should keynote an event sponsored by the organization that serves as a link between the county’s schools and the business community,” said Patrick Holmes, public information officer for Lenoir County Public Schools and a member of the Education Foundation’s board of directors. “Dr. Atkinson has an extensive background in vocational and technical education and has done much to ensure the state’s students learn the skills that are important in today’s economy.”
All proceeds from the $35-per-plate event will go into the mini-grant program. To register for the luncheon, go to www.kinstonchamber.com or call the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce at 252-527-1131.
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