Jill Francis

Jill Francis

FOREST CITY — A teacher at Chase High School has been named among the 2021-22 Kenan Fellows.

Jill Francis is one of two teachers named in Western North Carolina to have received the honor. Renata Crawley, of McDowell County Schools, was also named.

Francis is an AP Environmental Science and AP Biology teacher at Chase High School. She has been teaching for 22 years within Rutherford County Schools and has her National Board certification. This summer, she will intern at Biltmore Farms.

Crawley is a fifth-grade science teacher at West Marion Elementary School. She has been an educator for 29 years and has her National Board certification. This summer, she will intern at Coats North America.

The fellowship was made possible through a partnership between Facebook and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University.

The Kenan Fellows Program connects outstanding educators with mentors in local industry and business settings, creating opportunities that build meaningful relationships. The teachers are part of the 2021-22 Kenan Fellows cohort of 27 educators statewide, and they will receive leadership training to drive innovations in STEM education and help students build career-ready skills. The Facebook Western NC Fellows are listed below.

“The Kenan Fellows Program is an outstanding initiative that has proven to provide life-changing and long-term impact for teachers and their students,” said Katie Comer, Facebook Community Development regional manager. “We can’t wait to see how these two outstanding teachers take what they learn through the program into their classrooms to help their students be college- and career-ready.”

Facebook has been part of the Forest City community since breaking ground on its data center in 2010. This is the second year that Facebook has supported Kenan Fellows.

Kenan fellowships are awarded through a competitive application process. As part of the fellowship, the educators will attend a series of professional learning institutes focused on project-based learning, digital learning and leadership development.

Teachers remain in the classroom while completing the yearlong fellowship. Educators who complete the program say they feel a deeper connection to their community and grow professionally as part of a statewide network of teacher leaders. As their leadership skills grow, Kenan Fellows lead proactively within their schools and districts. Many become empowered to influence and lead educational innovation at state and national levels.

“Because of industry supporters like Facebook, we are able to provide teachers with the skills needed to build industry-education partnerships that make stronger connections between desirable workforce skills and classroom content,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership. Visit kenanfellows.org to learn more.

Beverly Owens, a chemistry teacher at Cleveland Early College High School, has been named a 2021-22 Kenan Fellow. Her fellowship was made possible through a partnership between American Zinc Products (AZP) and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University.

American Zinc Products is located in Rutherford County and is a large employer of the region who aims to be an integral part of their community. AZP uses unique technology to transform a WAELZ Oxide into Special High Grade Zinc, one of the highest commercial grades of zinc, used primarily for galvanizing steel.

“We are thrilled to offer this opportunity through the Kenan Fellowship to Ms. Beverly Owens. I am confident in her abilities to convey the many interesting aspects of our process to students through the development of valuable learning materials.” said Kobus de Wet, vice president and general manager of AZP.

“Because of industry supporters like AZP, we are able to provide teachers with the skills needed to build industry-education partnerships that make stronger connections between desirable workforce skills and classroom content,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership.

The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is a K-12 STEM education initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at NC State University. For more information visit, kenanfellows.org.