Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

You’re Invited: Teacherpreneur Pitch Night

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Teacherpreneur’s fifth annual Pitch Night will kick off Startup Week Chattanooga on Sunday, October 21 from 4-6pm!  Join us to hear ideas from Hamilton County’s most innovative educators.

Teacherpreneurs will pitch their big idea for education in front of a panel of judges and our community (that’s you!) on Sunday, October 21 from 4-6pm.  Admission is free, but space is limited.  Audience members will also be able to vote online, awarding a prize to the crowd favorite sponsored by Locals Only Chattanooga.

The Teacherpreneur Incubator offers teachers the support, time and space to incubate big ideas and grow them into sustainable, scalable projects, programs and businesses. A partnership between PEF and HCDE, with the generous support of the Benwood Foundation,  Teacherpreneur brings together educators, entrepreneurs, experts, and community members to develop and grow ideas with impact far beyond four classroom walls.

The educators participating this year are:

  • Michelle Bettis (East Hamilton School), Stephanie Montgomery (STEM School), and Nikki Russell (Orchard Knob Elementary)
  • Tyler Roberson (Soddy Daisy Middle)
  • Michael Caraccio (Sale Creek School)
  • Chelsie Durham and Lauren Swanson (Lakeside Academy)
  • Maureen Clark (Soddy Daisy High)
  • Sherry Heinz (The Howard School)
  • Erika Martin (East Brainerd Elementary)
  • Karen West, Comelia Franceschi, Laurie Clifton (CSLA) and Susan Morrison (Tyner Academy)
  • Audrey Pulse (Wallace A. Smith Elementary)
  • Sam Martin (Red Bank Middle)
  • Tarah Kemp (DuPont Elementary)
  • Kristina Williams (Brainerd High)
  • Marcie Williams (Ooltewah HIgh)
  • Tad Russell (Soddy Daisy Middle)
  • Jessica Hoover (Hixson Elementary)
  • Chris Seanard (Dalewood Middle)

Teacherpreneur is an event unlike any other – REGISTER NOW to cheer on these fantastic educators as they take the stage!

What’s next for education? You tell us!

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Applications are open for  Teacherpreneur Incubator!  We have exciting new changes this year.  We’ve moved the 48HR Launch and Pitch Night to kick off our growing Startup Week Chattanooga in October!  Teacherpreneurs fit perfectly into this exciting week celebrating our entrepreneurial community.

We have also partnered with CO.LAB to offer selected Teacherpreneur’s the opportunity to go through CO.STARTERS – an 8-week course led by expert entrepreneurial facilitators – prior to the 48HR Launch.  Educators who spend their time in the Teacherpreneur Incubator will finish with the momentum and toolkit (and hopefully funds!) to implement their ideas.

The deadline to apply is August 3.  Join us for an Idea Workshop in July to learn more about the program and what to expect, as well as assistance with your idea and application.  Office hours will also be held as we approach the deadline.

Contact Kate with any questions:

Fund for Teachers Applications Due January 31

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018


The Fund for Teachers application deadline is next week, January 31, 2018 at 6:00pm.  

Here are some helpful tips from Fund for Teachers to assist you with your application:

  • Visit the Application Learning Center where you can find everything you need from how to develop your fellowship ideas to tips for using the online system.
  • Writing tips for your application- we especially love tips #7, 8, and 9!
  • Applications are all judged against the Fund for Teachers’ Scoring Rubric.  Each section of the proposal is weighed equally.  Use the rubric as you write!
  • Once you have a final draft, reread the Application Guidelines to make sure you have covered everything.
  • Need help with the Online Application?  You can find tips for using the Online Application here.
  • You can also read the Fund for Teachers newsletters and blog for inspiring stories, tips, and details.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about your proposal-  Looking forward to hearing your innovative ideas for summer learning experiences!

Fund for Teachers PEF Team
Kate Skonberg & Joni Martin

Exciting new changes to the 2017-2018 iPLC Program!

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are one of the most effective mechanisms to identify and cultivate innovative education practices.  For the past four years, our iPLC program has brought together diverse groups of educators to PEF to learn and share effective ways to integrate technology in the classroom.  As we go into our fifth year of the program, we want to leverage the expertise that we know exists in our Hamilton County schools to start localized iPLCs.  This year’s cohort will consist of iPLC Facilitators who will receive training and ongoing support to organize and run iPLCs in their schools.  A stipend will be awarded to iPLC Facilitators to honor their time and commitment.

Who should apply?  

The ideal candidate for an iPLC Facilitator is a Hamilton County educator who enjoys working with people and who has a demonstrated ability to collaborate, problem solve, and innovate.  They should also be comfortable trying new things.

Applicants must also be able to:

  • Attend all 4 iPLC Facilitator meetings held from 5:00-7:00pm on September 19, November 14, February 13, and April 10
  • Organize and lead monthly iPLC sessions at your school from October through April
  • Participate in the Teach with Tech Expo on April 28, 2018

Applications are currently open and the deadline to apply is September 11 at noon.  You can find out more and apply here.

Teacherpreneur 4.0 launches this Sunday

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Teacherpreneur 4.0 launches this Sunday
Community invited to Pitch Night to hear teachers share their visions for transforming education

After a competitive application process, 22 teachers from 16 Hamilton County public schools had their ideas selected for inclusion in the Teacherpreneur Incubator. They will spend this weekend at an intensive 48Hour Launch, culminating in a public Pitch Night. The community is invited to hear these pitches and celebrate this group of innovative educators on Sunday, July 30 at 4:00 pm at the Granfalloon, 400 E. Main St. General admission is free, but audience members must register online at, as space is limited.

The Teacherpreneur Incubator is a truly unique leadership initiative offering educators the support, time and space to launch big ideas in the best interests of our students, schools, communities and the teaching profession. PEF and the Hamilton County Department of Education are collaborating with the Benwood Foundation, the Footprint Foundation and CO.LAB, with additional support from Locals Only Merch and the Chambliss Startup Group, on this innovative approach to engaging and empowering area teachers.

In May, HCDE teachers submitted almost 40 of proposals to the Teacherpreneur Incubator. Those proposals were narrowed to the 17 teams who will enter the Teacherpreneur 48Hour Launch, where educators will receive feedback, support and encouragement from entrepreneurs, mentors and community members throughout the weekend. The 48Hour Launch will be hosted at the Edney Innovation Center. Volunteers are welcome to attend.

On Sunday, July 30, the Launch culminates with educators pitching their ideas to a panel of judges at the Granfalloon. Projects will be chosen to receive funding and the on-going support to take ideas from concept to classroom; in addition, the top three project teams will receive prize money, as will a crowd-favorite voted on by the audience. VIP seats are $25. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be available during the event.

Michael Stone, PEF Director of Innovative Learning says, “We are always blown away by the community support for Teacherpreneur – we’re lucky to work with educators like these every day, but this is an incredible opportunity for the public to see the kinds of innovative professionals we have in every school in Hamilton County. With ideas ranging from a drone-racing course to a digital badging application to a bi-lingual guide to elementary math, we’re excited to see this year’s cohort take the stage!”

This year’s Teacherpreneur competitors include: Beth Wilson (Red Bank Elementary); Chris Cooper (Ooltewah Middle School); Colby Williams (East Hamilton High School); Dan Basler (Lookout Valley Middle/High School); Danielle Morgan Hooper (Central High School); Marie Dean (Brainerd High School); Lisa Blakely (Big Ridge Elementary) and Genise Fletcher (Tyner Academy), Magan Lampard (Wolftever Creek Elementary) and Sue Williamson (STEM School); Mary Manning, Drew Akins and James Stone (Red Bank High School); Matthew Craig (Red Bank Middle and High School); Mendi Catlett (Harrison Elementary); Olivia Bagby (Red Bank High School); Sara Durst (East Lake Elementary); Sara Southard (Harrison Elementary); Shannon Seigle (STEM School Chattanooga); Shela Brazeale and Jim Snyder (Central High School); and Tara Tharp (Signal Mountain Middle/High School).

Shop AmazonSmile and help PEF with every purchase

Thursday, March 16th, 2017


Did you know AmazonSmile gives back to nonprofits? Each time you shop through, the company donates 0.5% of your eligible purchase to the organization of your choice!

It’s easy to get started. Simply click the button above! Then shop til you drop, knowing you’re helping PEF invest in teachers, develop leaders, and support students every time you fill your cart.

Looking for the perfect gift?

Monday, December 5th, 2016

The best gifts make a difference all year – how about a gift that transforms public education?

We are happy to recognize donations in honor or memory of a teacher, family member, friend, or colleague. Simply note the name of the honoree on our online giving form and list the name and address for the gift notification (your gift amount will not be shared with the recipient).

Donate to PEF today!

iPLC helps educators amplify effect of technology

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Since the late 1970’s education reformers have pointed to value of thriving professional learning communities. In the last three decades, educational researchers have thoroughly documented the critical role these collaborative groups play in implementing real change throughout a school and school system. In practice the idea is simple: identify individuals who have a shared interest and similar, yet different expertise, and develop a forum for them to share their insights so that the group as a whole can glean the unique value each individual offers.

With the emergence of personalized technologies and their increasingly common presence in classrooms over the last 5 to ten years, it has become clear that providing students and teachers with access to technology is only the first step in productive 21st century classrooms. As technology’s pervasive role in the classroom continues to evolve, teachers are desperate to stay up with best practices for leveraging its amazing capabilities. To support teachers in this pursuit, PEF, with support from the Community Foundation, started iPLC—a year-long cohort comprised of K-12 teachers from across Hamilton County strategically designed to identify, refine, and share innovative and effective uses of instructional technology. This year, based on feedback from previous cohorts and members of the community, we are excited to announce that we will be offering the iPLC experience along with a new option iPLC Genius—designed for our most tech-savvy teachers with a desire to lead and serve as a point of contact for others who are looking to develop their capacity to effectively leverage new technologies.

While many of our supporters have generously placed substantial investments in classroom technology in public schools across Hamilton County, we want to ensure that teachers have access to training on how to use those technologies for an improved student experience, and we hope to provide teachers an opportunity to share discoveries they have made along their journey. Hamilton County has some of the best teachers in the country. iPLC and iPLC Genius offer those teachers a chance to be heard and to help ensure that every student has access to a quality education.

— Michael Stone, STEM Director of Innovative Learning

PEF Launches Policy Fellowship

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

After a competitive application process, 19 educators were selected to join PEF’s inaugural cohort of Policy Fellows.  With the support of the Benwood Foundation, this group of teachers, coaches and counselors will spend the next 16 months exploring education and public policy.  They will study the challenges that face our community and our students, meeting with elected leaders, and, ultimately, use their knowledge and experience to advocate for their students and for public education.

“We’re very excited to launch this new program, nearly two years in the making,” said Dan Challener, President of the Public Education Foundation. “The voice of actual teachers is so often missing in the crafting of public policy, especially education policy. These nineteen extraordinary teachers—from schools all across Hamilton County—are experts in their field—who better to advocate for children and public schools?”

The members of the first cohort include:Policy Fellows

  • Adrianne Cowan – Ooltewah Middle
  • Andrew Browning-Couch – STEM School
  • Anthony Goad – Tyner Middle Academy [Facilitator]
  • Bo Chamberlain – Signal Mountain Middle-High
  • Brandon Hubbard-Heitz – The Howard School
  • Emeri Gordon – Hixson Middle School
  • Genise Fletcher – Brainerd High School
  • Greg Kubisak – STEM School Chattanooga
  • Jamie Petty – Normal Park Museum Magnet School
  • Jesse Goins – Battle Academy
  • Jessica Hubbuch – The Howard School
  • John Cunningham – Brainerd High School
  • Katie Hetrick – Battle Academy
  • Kennisha Cann – Rivermont and Harrison Elementary
  • Latanya Mason – Barger Academy
  • Leah Keith-Houle – Red Bank High School
  • Lisa Blakely – Big Ridge and Soddy Elementary
  • Pat Goldsmith – Red Bank Elementary School
  • Tad Russell – Soddy Daisy Middle School

During their first meeting, Policy Fellows joined the community for a talk by Amanda Ripley, journalist and author of The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got that Way, as part of the Chattanooga 2.0 series inspiring conversations and ideas about our education system. Fellows then engaged in a private conversation with Ms. Ripley, asking questions about how policies in other nations strengthen schools. Fellows came together again in May to learn about the history of change in Chattanooga and Hamilton County, from integration to Gig City, with Ken Hays, CEO of the Enterprise Center, Edna Varner, former Principal of the Howard School, and Bill Kennedy, Vice President of Leading and Learning at PEF. In the months to come, the Fellows will have opportunities to meet with community leaders, as well as elected officials from the city, county, and state.

Contact PEF’s Geoff Millener at or 423-648-4448 for more information about Policy Fellows.

Try an Hour of Code Dec 7-13

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Heard of coding, but still intimidated? Curious but not sure where to start? Next week is your chance to jump in and learn.

The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.

PEF’s Geoff Millener leads an initiative called Dev Dev (Developing Developers) which, in partnership with the Hamilton County Department of Education, brings schools, companies and organizations together to help promote technology and digital literacy. Geoff explains, “We want more young people to not only use technology effectively, but also understand how applications and web tools are developed. The Hour of Code is a great introduction to the opportunities out there for students interested in programming.”

Several area schools are participating, including Clifton Hills, Bess T. Shepherd, and Battle Academy. Geoff was joined by Clifton Hills media specialist and Teacherpreneur Cristol Kapp on WDEF’s “This Morning” to share more about the importance of coding skills and digital literacy.

For more on local Hour of Code experiences, email Geoff Millener.