August 18, 2022

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Public Education Foundation Announces 10th Cohort Of STEM Fellows

The Public Education Foundation announced Tuesday the selection of 31 teachers from the 

Southeast Tennessee region who will participate in the 10th cohort of PEF’s STEM Fellow 

program during the 2022-2023 academic year. The teachers will engage in a year of professional 

learning about best practices in STEM education and will have numerous opportunities to visit 

businesses in the region that thrive because of the STEM skills of their employees. 

“We are delighted to announce this year’s STEM Fellows—31 outstanding teachers who will 

inspire their students and lead their schools and their communities in preparing our children for 

the nearly infinite opportunities in STEM fields,” said Dr. Dan Challener, president of Public 

Education Foundation. “These are 31 extraordinary teachers who will make a true and lasting 

difference in our region.” 

The fellowship is led by the PEF Innovation Hub in partnership with Hamilton County Schools, 

Benwood Foundation, and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. Designed to help teacher 

leaders prepare students for today’s workforce, STEM Fellows engage in a series of site visits 

and structured learning sessions with local business and industry partners including Volkswagen, 

the Chattanooga Business Development Center, and Branch Technology. 

“STEM Fellows has created a strong, growing network providing teachers opportunities to 

elevate their practices in new and innovative ways while being able to connect with other 

innovative educators around the district,” Superintendent Justin Robertson said. “The program 

gives teachers the opportunity to connect with community partners and allows them to go deeper 

into learning, which only increases the quality and quantity of opportunities and access we can 

provide for our students. This partnership, along with many others in our community, is yet 

another example of Hamilton County coming together to make sure our students thrive and 

experience a future without limits.”

Michael Stone, PEF’s vice president of innovative learning, leads the fellowship. “STEM 

Fellows provides an excellent opportunity for teachers to get hands-on experience in the modern 

workforce as they develop innovative lessons that prepare their students to thrive,” Mr. Stone said. 

“We are especially proud that STEM Fellows have helped eight Hamilton County Schools earn 

the state’s STEM Designation, the state’s highest recognition.”

The fellows also shadow leaders at businesses in their community to develop a deeper

understanding of current workforce needs. The previous cohort featured job shadows at a range 

of businesses including Naturally Knotty Hair Care, Green Spaces, Reflection Riding and TVA. 

Over the last 10 years, more than 270 teachers from 125 schools and 18 districts have graduated 

from STEM Fellows.

PEF congratulates members of the 2022-2023 STEM Fellows Cohort.

STEM Fellows Cohort 10.0:

• Joyce Baker, Tyner Academy

• Kayla Bowman, Daisy Elementary

• Mandy Carter, Lookout Valley Elementary

• Sarah Conrad, Waterville Community Elementary

• Robbie Dillard, Orchard Knob Middle

• Alyssa DiNitto, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences

• Kimberly Folson, Willow Oaks Elementary

• Ayana Gustus, Tyner Middle

• Laycica Harjes, Brown Middle

• Alden Hawkins, Thrasher Elementary

• Natasha Hennessey, Brown Academy

• Emily Hurst, HCS Innovation Team

• Diane Johnson, East Lake Academy of Fine Arts

• Patti Jones, East Lake Academy of Fine Arts

• Olivia Kane, STEM School Chattanooga

• Ginger King, Ooltewah Middle

• Chris Kizziah, Red Bank Middle

• Abby Klett, Dalewood Middle

• Ashley Lepard, East Side Elementary

• Antonia Luttrell, Spring Creek Elementary

• Ricky McEvoy, Thrasher Elementary

• Amanda Panter, Red Bank High School

• Ronda Phillips, Donald P. Yates Primary

• Emily Rossman, Harrison Elementary

• Stephanie Smith, Hixson Middle

• Brooke Smith, East Brainerd Elementary

• Lori Spencer, Brainerd High

• Bruce Stubblefield, Ooltewah High

• Jami Thomason, Dalewood Middle

• Traves Welch, East Lake Academy of Fine Arts

• Jeannette Yann, Spring Creek Elementary