Thursday, June 15, 2023

Seven Teachers Win Governor’s Educator Discovery Award, Governor Cooper Announces Teachers in Cabarrus, Duplin, Guilford, Halifax, Pitt, Person, and Rockingham Counties Win Professional Development Grants

Today, Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) announced that seven public school teachers across the state will get $1,000 each for professional development as part of the Governor’s Educator Discovery Award.
Jun 15, 2023

Today, Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) announced that seven public school teachers across the state will get $1,000 each for professional development as part of the Governor’s Educator Discovery Award. 

“Teachers are the direct link to our future workforce, and providing them with opportunities to learn and improve helps students get ready for the jobs of tomorrow,” Governor Cooper said. “With the help of these awards, teachers will bring new career skills and insights back to the classroom.”

The Governor’s Educator Discovery Award is open to PreK-12 teachers in traditional public and charter schools who apply by submitting a proposal with details about their teaching experience and the professional development activity they wish to pursue. The award is designed to encourage work-based learning opportunities for students by helping teachers pursue professional development to increase career awareness and create activities to gain job-ready skills for their students.

The Governor’s Educator Discovery Award is available to any educator in any subject with a special emphasis this year on agriculture teachers. Smithfield Foods partnered with NCBCE by donating $2,000 to fund two awards to educators pursuing professional development opportunities in agriculture education. Agriculture has long been a major contributor to North Carolina’s economy, providing more than $100 billion in economic impact according to NC State University.

“As a food company with deep agricultural roots in North Carolina, Smithfield is proud to support and celebrate our agricultural educators,” said Steve Evans, vice president of community development for Smithfield Foods. “Our ag teachers are valuable influences in their students’ lives, and we appreciate their contributions in helping prepare them for the many rewarding career opportunities in agriculture.”

The tenth cycle of the Governor’s Educator Discovery Award was its biggest yet, with seven recipients taking home awards. Including this year’s awards, 36 teachers have won awards since 2019. Teachers can now apply for next cycle of awards HERE.

The latest teachers to receive grants will use their Governor’s Educator Discovery Award in the following ways:

Kristen Kane, a STEM teacher at Duplin Early College High School in Duplin County, will attend two workshops to learn methods of integrating technology into the classroom, the TI-84 Plus Graphing Family in High School Mathematics Workshop and the Learning to Code with Python Workshop. Both workshops are run by Texas Instruments and will enable her to better prepare students with skills they will need to be successful in STEM including a familiarity with Python coding.

Michael Crenshaw, a career and technical education teacher at Weaver Academy in Guilford County, will travel to Orlando, Florida to attend the Certified Certiport Educator Conference. Certiport testing software is used to help students and teachers earn certifications and attending the conference will allow him to directly communicate with the organization. He will then be able to share the new methods used to teach Adobe software and present fellow teachers with methods to improve both their students’ scores and their own scores.

Dr. Tiffany Neal, a social studies teacher at Western Rockingham Middle School in Rockingham County, will attend the International Conference for Math Statistics Education and Law-23 (ICMSEL-23) which aims to promote development in education through cross disciplinary collaboration. Attending ICMSEL-23 will allow her to better inform her teaching of social studies concepts to include new insights and include consideration of perspectives from the fields of education, law, statistics, and math.

Mary Hurst, an economics and personal finance teacher at South Central High School in Pitt County, will attend the Council for Economic Education’s 62nd Financial Literacy and Economic Education Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in September. This conference offers 45 sessions on economics and personal finance and will allow her to network with other educators and industry professionals to share curriculum ideas.

Ashley Bailey, a biology teacher at Roxboro Community School in Person County, will attend the National Association of Biology Teachers Professional Development Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. There she will participate in hands-on learning opportunities with cutting edge technology, learn best practices for students, and connect with other biology teachers from across the country.

Emma Hendley, an equine and animal science teacher at Northwest Cabarrus High School in Cabarrus County, will attend a conference hosted by the National Association of Agriculture Educators and the ACTE’s CareerTech Vision. This conference will feature curriculum targeted workshops and give her the chance to become CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) certified.

Annabel Bello, a sustainable agriculture teacher at Weldon STEM High School Career Academies in Halifax County, will attend a Horticulture Therapy Program. This professional development will prepare her to develop, manage, and evaluate horticultural therapy programs in her school and teach her students about the mental health benefits that can be learned through the process of growing plants and help her teach them about a unique, new career pathway in agriculture.

The Governor’s Educator Discovery Awards are funded by NCBCE member companies. As interest in the program has grown with each cycle, NCBCE hopes to raise additional funds to expand the program in future years. Parties interested in funding the initiative should contact Caroline Sullivan, Executive Director of NCBCE, at

The North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) is a business-led, education non-profit (501-c3) that operates out of the Office of the Governor. Since 1983, NCBCE has provided a critical link between North Carolina business leaders and the state’s education decision-makers, helping to create connections between the education curriculum and the overall work readiness of people across the state. Learn more about NCBCE by visiting


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