North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program announces award winners

Published 7:25 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission has selected 130 individuals to receive North Carolina Teaching Fellows awards for the Class of 2024 during its early-decision window.

Regional early-decision recipients in the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Class of 2024 are Haley Byrum of Kitty Hawk, William Crodick of Knotts Island, McKenna Peters of Plymouth and Ellie Spear of Edenton.

The Teaching Fellows program is a competitive, merit-based forgivable loan program providing tuition assistance of up to $10,000 per year for qualified students committed to teaching elementary education, special education, science, technology, engineering, or math in a North Carolina public school. The purpose of the program is to recruit, prepare and support future teachers who attend institutions of higher education in North Carolina.

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Those named as fellows may attend any of the program’s eight partner institutions, pending institutional admission: Elon University; Fayetteville State University; North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; NC State University; Meredith College; University of North Carolina at Charlotte; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The program will be expanding to two additional institutions in the spring of 2024.

In the early-decision window, the commission received 221 completed and screened applications. The commission considered grade point average, leadership and experience, awards and honors, written essays, educator recommendations and video submissions to offer the 130 awards. Standardized test scores from SAT/ACT were optional to align with admission standards from participating colleges and universities. Students who did not receive an early-decision award were deferred to the regular application window, which runs through Feb. 18. Any potential teachers in the areas of elementary, STEM, or special education are encouraged to apply at ncteachingfellows.org during the regular application window. The comprehensive list of the Class of 2024 Teaching Fellows awardees will be finalized in March 2024.

“We are proud to offer Teaching Fellows awards to these deserving students during this inaugural early-decision window,” said Bennett Jones, director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program. “The commission made a strategic decision to implement this early-decision window to increase the number of applicants to the program and to provide students with the knowledge that they have this award, which will assist them in their college application and decision-making processes. We are excited about the continued growth of the Teaching Fellows program and are grateful for the support of lawmakers and education policy leaders as we continue to promote the teaching profession across the state.”

The 130 awards in the early-decision window nearly match the 132 awards offered during the entire 2023 application cycle. “The early-award recipients hail from 83 different cities and towns, representing 48 counties across the state. The 2024 early features an increase in minority recipients when compared to the previous class,” noted the announcement from the University of North Carolina System. “Overall, more than one-third of the recipients in the early class of 2024 are minority candidates, a 2% increase from the previous year’s total.”

Seventy-two of the recipients intend to study elementary education, 39 will study special education, and 19 will pursue licensure in STEM areas.

The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission is comprised of four deans from educator preparation programs, a community college president, a beginning teacher, a principal, a member from business and industry and a local school board member. The NC Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, Superintendent of the Year, Chair of the State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) Board of Directors, and Director of the Teaching Fellows Program all serve as ex-officio members of the commission.

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