PEP Celebrates GATE Graduates, Awards Grants

Public Education Partners (PEP) honored the first seven graduates of the Greenville Alternative Teacher Education (GATE) program and awarded $24,000 to fund nine Quality Teaching Grants, at a reception held May 29, 2019, at the Westin Poinsett.

First graduating class of the GATE program

The graduation celebration recognized the completion of the three-year GATE program and eligibility for South Carolina teacher certification, while Duke Energy presented a $75,000 check supporting the GATE program.

“In collaboration with Greenville County Schools, we helped develop and continue to rally the community in supporting the GATE program to address the shortage of math and science teachers in Greenville County,” said Dr. Ansel Sanders, President and CEO of Public Education Partners. “We’re thrilled to honor these first seven graduates, and to witness the program’s growth to include foreign language candidates and 37 teachers in 22 schools across the county.” 

Since August 2016, the GATE program has provided a pathway into the teaching profession for people with subject-area bachelor’s degrees, but who lack formal training in education. Through intensive coaching and mentoring, ongoing evaluation, and multiple opportunities for participation in professional learning communities, GATE teachers are guided into their role in the classroom and given the tools needed to thrive. The seven graduates were:

  • Cam Erion, Ralph Chandler Middle, 7th grade Math
  • Leslie Finley, Woodmont High, Mathematics
  • Jasmine Ford, Lakeview Middle, 7th grade Science
  • Monica Hughey, Berea Middle, 7th grade Science
  • Benjamin Saul, Tanglewood Middle, 6th grade Math
  • Debra Workman, Ralph Chandler Middle, 6th grade Math
  • Rebecca Zander, Greer Middle, 7th grade Science
Duke Energy awards $75,000 check

According to Sanders, having this first group graduate would not be possible if not for the contributions of area organizations and individuals. Among these partners is Duke Energy, whose foundation established the Duke Energy GATE fellowship for math and science teachers in 2017 and has since donated a total of $284,000 to the GATE program.

“We know there is a critical shortage of math and science teachers here in South Carolina,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president. “That’s why we fund the Greenville Alternative Teacher Education fellowships to help professionals as they transition into becoming much-needed math and science teachers. I am glad that Duke Energy can help Public Education Partners with the shared mission we have of helping every Greenville County child get the best education possible.”

Building STEAM grant winners

PEP also awarded two Mullins Grant for Quality Teaching winners $5,000 each, and seven Building STEAM grant winners $2,000 each. The Building STEAM grant supports projects that incorporate aspects of science, technology, engineering, arts and/or mathematics (STEAM). The Mullins Grant for Quality Teaching supports schools as they create and pursue school-wide efforts to increase the likelihood of teachers returning to the same teaching site the following year. The winning grant submissions are:

  • Robo Revolution: Students will learn to compete in teams in various robotics engineering challenges,” by Chris Beyerle, Fisher Middle School. (Building STEAM)
  • FBLA/Special Education Joint Venture: To learn effective business strategies and skills that will be beneficial in the future,” by Kim Black & Angela Blakely, Sevier Middle School. (Building STEAM)
  • Innovative Photographic Surface Designs on Metals, Fabric, Paper,” by Katy Cassell, Zane Logan & Donna Shank, Fine Arts Center. (Building STEAM)
  • The Hovercraft Project: Building a fleet of fully functional, safe and reusable hovercrafts,” by Julie Cooke, Lake Forest Elementary School. (Building STEAM)
  • Ed (rone) ucation: Drone project to assist in designing campus improvements,” by Luke Drevets, Woodmont High School. (Building STEAM)
  • This Research is Full of STEAM: Project emphasizes traditional scientific research in the classroom,” by Dr. Monica Hughey, Berea Middle School. (Building STEAM)
  • Piloting Promotion with UAVs,” by James Willey, Wade Hampton High School. (Building STEAM)
  • Stop, Collaborate, and Listen: To help increase teacher’s knowledge of social and emotional learning,” by Julie Cooke, Principal of Lake Forest Elementary School. (Mullins)
  • Compassionate Educators Inspiring Excellence: Teachers participating in Compassionate Schools training and how it will support teacher retention,” by Dr. Adrienne Davenport, Principal of Bryson Middle School. (Mullins)
Mullins Grant winners

“The purpose of our grants programs at PEP is to insure we are helping provide resources for innovative classroom instruction, and to support administrators and schools in teacher retention and recruitment efforts,” said Dr. Julie Smart, member of PEP’s Board of Directors and head of the grants committee. “I would like to thank everyone who worked with me to review these amazing proposals, such a display of innovative instruction and programmatic ideas in Greenville County.”

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