Archive for the ‘News’ Category

College Goal TN Conference 2017: Building Your Dream

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017


Contact: Stacy Lightfoot / 423-648-4443


Register Now for College Goal Tennessee 2017

High School & College Students, Parents, Educators & Counselors

Invited To Learn More About College Financial Aid

CHATTANOOGA, October 24 – High school students, parents and educators, mark your calendars for Saturday, November 4. Join us at the “4th Annual College Goal Tennessee 2017: Building Your Future” from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the UTC University Center at 615 McCallie Avenue. PEF, UTC & our partners are hosting this free college planning and financial aid workshop as part of the nationwide “College Goal” initiative. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided. On-site registration will begin at 8:30 am.

Last year, more than 300 people attended the conference which informs families and educators how students can succeed in college and how to apply for financial aid. Participants will receive free on-site assistance completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – the federal financial aid form that students and parents are required to file for students to be eligible to receive any state or federal assistance. College students and their parents are encouraged to attend as well.

Some of the workshop titles will include:

  • Show Me the Money: Financial Aid 101
  • Paying for College: Steps after the FAFSA
  • Applying to QuestBridge
  • Conexion Americas
  • Low Stakes Placement Testing
  • Music and The Arts in Postsecondary Education
  • Navigating The Campus Social Scene
  • Life After High School
  • How to Find More Money for College Now
  • How to Overcome Summer Melt
  • Primary Means to Promote Your Child’s Well-Being
  • Georgia State University’s Innovative Approach to Access & Research
  • Realizing Dreams: Non-cognitive Factors Promoting a Positive Postsecondary Education Experience
  • UT-Chattanooga College Tour
  • Don’t Be Basic: Self-Marketing Fundamentals for the Job Search

“During this free, half-day conference, students and their supporters will learn from experts and each other how to be successful in college,” says PEF’s Stacy Lightfoot. “Topics will range from financial planning for college and navigating applications to what employers look for in potential hires, and much more. Business leaders, college admissions, and financial aid experts will lead the sessions. This conference will confront real topics that affect the persistence of college students.”

Participants can register at This free workshop is sponsored by PEF, UTC, Chattanooga State Community College, HCDE, YoungandWiser, Inc., edsouth, FAFSA Frenzy, Girls Preparatory School, Naviance by Hobsons, SACAC (Southern Association for College Admission Counseling), TSAC (TN Student Assistance Corporation), and TCASN (TN College Access & Success Network).

For more information, contact PEF VP of College & Career Success Stacy Lightfoot at or 423-648-4443.


ABOUT PEF PEF is transforming public education. We are an advocate for the region and Hamilton County schools and its teachers, leaders, and students. For over 25 years, we have worked in partnership with Hamilton County schools and provide training, research, and resources to teachers, principals, and schools. Our mission is to increase student achievement so all our students succeed in learning and in life. PEF has helped to bring more than $70 million in supplemental, philanthropic funding to the school system to help achieve that mission.


PEF is hiring!

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Are you passionate about improving equity, access, and excellence in our region’s public schools? Join our team of committed professionals to help students succeed in learning and in life.

PEF is current accepting applications for two positions: Vice President for External Relations and Technology Program Associate. Full job descriptions and instructions for submitting materials are in the employment section of our website.

Please circulate these opportunities throughout your networks – PEF is an equal opportunity employer with a demonstrated commitment to hiring individuals who reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children grants awarded

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

PEF was delighted to share the news that two schools – East Side Elementary in Hamilton County and Blythe-Bower Elementary in Cleveland – were awarded grants from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children totaling $100,000! This week, educators from East Side joined PEF’s Shannon Edmondson to speak with local news channels about how their grant will be used to improve the lives of young people.

Stacey Hooper, Read 180 teacher and Nina Johnson, literacy coach, talked about the lab with Julie Edwards on “3 Plus You.”


East Side Assistant Principal Dr. Greg Wilkey spoke with WDEF’s Joe Legge on “This Morning” about the Read 180 lab.

Principal Stephanie Hinton will talk with Brian Smith on WTVC’s “This N That” next Tuesday at 12:30 pm.

Celebrations will be held at both schools in the fall when students return – we’ll post coverage on our website as it is available.

PEF announces 2015 Fund for Teachers Fellows

Monday, April 6th, 2015

For the fourth year in a row, Hamilton County public school teachers have earned grants for summer learning experiences across the globe so they can come back and share what they learned with their students. The grants are made possible by the national nonprofit Fund for Teachers in partnership with PEF.

“Because we believe that teachers know best what will make them better, each year teachers are invited to design summer learning experiences that will have the greatest impact on their students, school and community,” says Leslie Graitcer, PEF’s Fund for Teachers Director. “Our goal is to empower teachers to be learners again so that they can return to the classroom with renewed energy and creative ideas that spur powerful student learning.”

Fund for Teachers allotted $85,000 in grant money for Hamilton County public school teachers this year. Teachers could apply for $5,000 as an individual or $10,000 as a team. Fellows from 10 schools will visit 11 countries across four continents. For more, visit PEF’s Fund for Teachers page.

22 HCDE teachers have been awarded 2015 Fund for Teachers grants:

Susan Morrison, Kirsten Legac, and Julie Smith of East Hamilton Middle-High will travel to Vietnam to capture perspectives on the past and current needs and hopes of this developing country, thus broadening students’ global understandings.

James Carpenter of Ooltewah High will conduct an educator’s tour of London, Paris, and Rome to gain exposure to those cultures and cities and better inform AP history students about the art, architecture and events that shaped our past.

Kristen Burrus and Janie Fossett of Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences will visit San Francisco to explore the geology, engineering and architecture of the cities’ earthquake proof buildings to develop a cross-curricular, multi-grade student exhibit involving middle school science, high school geometry, and ACE Mentor Program students.

James David and Michael Stone of STEM School Chattanooga will delve into China’s STEM fields with a focus on a FabLab in Shanghai, the 2015 RoboCup in Hefei, an animation studio in Beijing, and historical engineering feats like the Great Wall of China and modern bullet trains, to inform STEM education classes and broaden student awareness of STEM achievements.

Stacy Hill of STEM School Chattanooga will analyze the educational systems of Nepal, India, Singapore and China to discover and bring back new ideas and teaching methods for socially, economically and culturally diverse student populations.

Margaret Hudgins of Center for Creative Arts will experience London’s theater scene then participate in an actor training workshop led by internationally-renowned Keith Johnstone to enhance classes for students in all arts disciplines.

Michelle Collins and Tracy Renfro of Soddy Daisy Middle will explore ancient artifacts and artistic techniques across Greece and Italy to connect World History classes with creative opportunities in the arts and enhance project-based instruction.

Thais Campbell and Kelli Solock of Ooltewah Middle will explore Alaska’s coastal wilderness and inland cultures to gain knowledge about local environmental concerns and create research materials that inform students’ nonfiction texts and informational writing pieces.

Emeri Gordon of Hixson Middle and Monica Gordon of Brown Middle will conduct field research at ancient and modern structures in Athens and Rome to facilitate students’ synthesis of how ancient cultures, geography and technologies affect the present and future.

Anthony Henderson of Soddy Daisy Middle will travel to Ireland to participate in the Joe Moody Summer School of traditional Irish music, song and dance, then observe Dublin’s Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan Irish music and dance competition and visit the National Museum of Ireland to research and demonstrate for students the connections between Irish and American music and culture.

Laura Ellis, Sharon DeVaney, Julie Thomas, Lauren Fisher, and Cynthia Connor of Apison Elementary will experience through on-site teaching the culture, language and practices of a Guatemalan partner school, to bring back tools that facilitate student empathy and foster student collaborations with this partner school and others in the global community.

Cleveland and Bradley County teachers also won awards:

Lisa Eulo of Walker Valley High and Carol Dale of Cleveland High will conduct a site visit with a partner school in Burghausen, Germany, to collect research that prepares students for future exchange visits promoting global citizenry and collaboration.

Athena Davis of Cleveland High will participate in Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies’ three-week seminar on Teaching the Shoah and Antisemitism to increase personal knowledge of the Holocaust and personalize the study of the topic for Holocaust Literature students.

Stacey Wielfaert of Walker Valley High will retrace Hemingway’s experiences in France and Spain, then enroll in a Paris-based workshop for high school writing teachers, to demonstrate for students the connections between the environment, historical moments and the act of writing during one of the most productive periods in American literary history.

About Fund for Teachers
Fund for Teachers, which is based in Houston, TX, has invested more than $20 million in 5,500 teacher grants since 2001. Fund for Teachers enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the world that impact their practice, their students and their schools. For more information, visit

PLA graduate unites student leaders from Baylor & Brainerd

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Students from Baylor School and Brainerd High may seem to be worlds apart. But Dr. Charles Mitchell, assistant principal at Brainerd High, believed leadership could bring them together to find common ground and destroy misconceptions.

Dr. Mitchell is a member of the current Principal Leadership Academy cohort and developed the program in collaboration with his executive business mentor Steve Zabel, Senior Vice President at Unum, during his year-long PLA experience.

WRCB Channel 3’s David Carroll highlighted the program recently; watch the video below to learn more. | Chattanooga News, Weather

Suzy Anthony promoted to CFO

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Congratulations to our colleague Suzy M. Anthony, who was recently promoted to Chief Financial Officer – the first in PEF’s history. Read about Suzy’s background and what she’ll be doing to help PEF grow and build on 25 years of innovative, effective work to improve public education.

Jim Hill, Chair of the PEF Board, says it best: “Suzy’s dedication to her work helps PEF pursue our mission efficiently, steward our grants and contributions properly, and help promote an organizational culture of innovation. She is a tremendous asset to PEF.”



PEF proud to partner in TechHire initiative

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

PEF is excited to be a part of the White House’s national “TechHire” initiative which launched yesterday in Washington, D.C. The White House explains, “TechHire is a bold multi-sector initiative and call to action to empower Americans with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges but also nontraditional approaches like “coding boot camps,” and high-quality online courses that can rapidly train workers for a well-paying job, often in just a few months. Employers across the United States are in critical need of talent with these skills.”

PEF is cited in the Chattanooga community description:

The City of Chattanooga is serving as the backbone entity for Chattanooga’s TechHire partnership. In addition, the City has allocated funding through its FY15 budget specifically targeted towards technology workforce in line with TechHire goals. An IT Task Force made up of employers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Unum Group, The Lamp Post Group, EBP, and Erlanger Hospital will determine the skill-needs of employers, and training partners including Chattanooga State Technical Community College, A.I.R. Labs, Public Education Foundation, TN Code Academy/ Girls Who Code, and the Chattanooga Public Library 4th Floor will establish goals for recruiting and training diverse and nontraditional candidates to fill these important jobs.

Learn more in this article. PEF is proud to engage with local partners in this effort!


PEF in the news

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

1:1 Technology Helps Students Weather Snow Days

With the increased availability of electronic devices, snow days don’t have to mean missing out on valuable learning time. Red Bank High students in Mrs. Boran’s Honors Language class are keeping up thanks in part to support from PEF. In WDEF’s David Carroll’s report, “Mrs. Boran credited the Public Education Foundation and the Benwood Foundation for assisting the school in obtaining Chromebooks and iPads.”

Read the article online at

Suzy Anthony promoted

PEF is proud to announce the promotion of Suzy Anthony to Chief Financial Officer, the first in the organization’s history. For more on Suzy’s background and her new role, see the article at Congratulations, Suzy!

Investor Spotlight: Hacker & Kitty Caldwell

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

PEF is delighted to announce an investment of $50,000 in Passport Scholars from Hacker and Kitty Caldwell!

Ms. Caldwell is a PEF Board Member and explains, “Hacker and I support Passport Scholars because we want bright futures for our public school girls. The summer opportunities available through Passport Scholars build confidence in young women, and in turn, they set – and achieve – high goals for college and careers.” See photos of the 2015 Passport Scholars

Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President of College and Career Success, says, “Passport Scholars represents the incredible potential of Hamilton County high school students. The growth you see between the application interview and the fall showcase where girls share their experiences with the public is inspiring. It’s not surprising that 95% of Passport Scholars attend college!”

We deeply appreciate our investors and their support of PEF.

Read about our college success initiatives and see how your donation can make a difference in the lives of students.

2014 Passport Scholars

2014 Passport Scholars

$3 million NSF grant helps meet the need for math, science teachers in Hamilton County

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

The National Science Foundation has awarded a nearly $3 million grant to help meet the need for math and science teachers in grades seven through twelve in Tennessee.

Tennessee Technological University, the Hamilton County Department of Education, and PEF together will administer Project Inspire, a teacher residency program that helps people with math and science bachelor’s degrees earn a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from TTU while learning and teaching alongside a mentor teacher in a high-need classroom.

Learn more about the grant from the press release, and visit for more on the residency program.