Ten APS educators surprised with Atlanta Families’ $7,500 grants

Ms. Naja Freeman – Bunche Middle School, seventh grade teacher (Photo Credit: Tammy Garnes)

Ten APS educators surprised with Atlanta Families’ $7,500 grants
by Tammy Garnes, Office of Communications

Community partners, local personalities and government officials – including Atlanta Board of Education Chair Brenda J. Muhammad, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders and football players, and mascots from the Atlanta Braves and Chick-fil-A surprised 10 outstanding APS educators Tuesday with grants from the Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education (AFAEE).

The following educators were named 2011 AFAEE winners:

Mr. Ed Chang – KIPP STRIVE Academy, principal
Ms. Nieves Corrales – Centennial Place Elementary School, Spanish teacher
Ms. Naja Freeman – Bunche Middle School, seventh grade teacher
Mr. Kenny Kraus – Sarah Smith Elementary School, kindergarten teacher
Dr. Brian Mitchell – Mary Lin Elementary, principal
Ms. Alicia Pagan – Drew Charter School, first grade teacher
Ms. Robin Robbins – Burgess-Peterson Academy, principal
Mr. Mike Stewart – KIPP STRIVE Academy, fifth grade teacher
Ms. Shenise Shorter – Springdale Park Elementary School, first grade teacher
Ms. Sarah Visel – Morris Brandon Elementary, third grade teacher

Each winner was awarded $7,500, which includes funding for a school project of the winner’s choice ($3,500), funding for a professional development opportunity to increase the winner’s effectiveness in the school or classroom ($1,500) and a personal stipend ($2,500). These grants will help fund innovative classroom and school-wide projects designed by winners to improve students’ access to quality education.

Ms. Shenise Shorter – Springdale Park Elementary School, first grade teacher (Photo Credit: Tammy Garnes)

This is also the first year that AFAEE has awarded educators at APS charter schools. KIPP STRIVE Academy’s principal Ed Chang and teacher Mike Stewart were named winners, as well as teacher Alicia Pagan from Drew Charter School.

“This is a good example of how the community works hand in glove with individual schools and the district to promote student achievement,” said Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr. “Recognizing high-performing teachers and principals is an excellent way of encouraging everyone to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the educational process for all children.”

Since its inception in 2005, AFAEE has recognized outstanding teachers and principals for their commitment to excellence, while aiming to create a platform to further award winners’ success in APS, retain motivated educators and attract like-minded individuals to the district.

“We were impressed with the creativity, passion and integrity that these winners bring to the teaching profession,” said Katie McDowell, co-founder and board co-chair of AFAEE. “Our partners are excited to watch as these winners use their grants to make a lasting impact on the lives of their students and strengthen APS.”

For the past six years, AFAEE has donated more than $500,000 to teachers and principals in APS. This year, the organization also will make an equally substantial financial commitment to APS’ new academic support program that will provide additional help to students whose performance is below standards.

For more information about AFAEE, visit http://www.atlantafamilies.org.

View the 2011 AFAEE photo gallery of winners.

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