Nickajack Elementary Foundation Prize Patrol Awards Grants to 18 Teachers

Members of the Nickajack Elementary School Foundation and Nickajack Principal Adam Hill prepare to surprise Nickajack teachers with grant awards on September 23.

Ringing bells and cheering parents broke the quiet of Nickajack Elementary School hallways as the Nickajack Foundation prize patrol rushed down the halls, bundles of red and blue balloons trailing behind them. The Foundation members surprised 18 Nickajack teachers with grants totaling more than $12,000.

Nickajack Principal Adam Hill referred to the prize patrol’s noise as an “intentional disruption” in the halls.

“The hope is that the other teachers hear and see the commotion, as do their students, and that it inspires the teachers to write a grant next year,” Hill explained.

This is the fourth year the Nickajack Elementary School Foundation has unleashed its grant prize patrol. The Foundation funds the school’s grant program through donations made during the Nickajack Back the Jack fundraising campaign. The Foundation, which is also raising funds to upgrade Nickajack’s Media Center into a new “Learning Commons” resource center, has raised more than $68,000 to kick off the school year.

“Funding teacher grants shows our teachers that the parents and Nickajack Elementary School community truly believes in them and the work they do for our children every day,” said Hill. “It also shows parents and the NES community that our teachers are always striving to be the best they can be and want to provide the best learning environment for their students.”

The timing of the grant awards may have surprised the teachers. In years past, the Foundation presented the grants closer to the Thanksgiving break.

“No one had any idea we would be taking over the halls the day before Fall Break! We wanted to make sure that a teacher’s grant applications that was not awarded had enough time to make adjustments and then submit them to the Cobb Schools Foundation Impact Grant Program by October 8,” added Hill.

Nickajack Elementary School Teacher Grant Recipients  *Teacher received more than one grant

  • Dina Espenshied (4th Grade)- iPads for STEAM Based Learning & Coding
  • Dannielle McClure (K-5 Speech Specialist) – Creation Lab Materials
  • Deryl Heflin (Science Lab Specialist) – Science Lab Supplies
  • Sharon Penquite (Early Instructional Program) – Read 180 Independent Reading Area Materials
  • Deryl Heflin (Science Lab Specialist) /Leslie Maples (5th Grade) – Professional Development, GSTA Annual Meeting
  • Karen Harrison (Early Instructional Program) – Read 180 Program materials
  • Stephanie Tucker, Amanda Smiley, Heather Hunt, Katie Morris (1st Grade) – Comfortable Seats for a Comfortable Environment
  • Stephanie Burns (2nd Grade) – Flexible Seats for Flexible Learning
  • Dina Espenshied (4th Grade)/ Karen Harrison (Early Instructional Program) – Professional Development, GA Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • Diane Kordel (DLI Spanish, Kindergarten)- Dual Language Immersion Math/Reading and Sound Box ***
  • Jessica Milovich (Kindergarten) Amanda Newman (1st Grade) – K-1 Multi Age – 4 OSMO Camera Kits
  • Sarah Lasiter (4th Grade) – Classroom Computers
  • Jennifer Salter (Target) – Mini Number Balance Kit and Cooperative Engineer Kits **
  • Joanna Aenchbacher (1st Grade) – Professional Development KSU ESOL Conference