Eight CMS teachers receive $25,000 in grants

The Charlotte Hornets and FOX Sports Southeast, in partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Foundation, awarded a total of $25,000 in Teacher Innovation Fund grants to eight Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) teachers. The grants support dynamic ideas to educate students. The teachers received the grants during a halftime ceremony at the Hornets game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 20 at Spectrum Center.

"We want our students prepared to live and work in the 21st century and these grants will positively affect our ability to prepare them," said Dr. Clayton Wilcox, superintendent. "From elementary literacy to innovative instruction in high school, these grants will help a lot of kids. We appreciate the support of the Hornets and FOX Sports Southeast in working with the CMS Foundation in making these grants available."

The CMS teachers who received grants are:

Retired Lt. Col. Shawn Cowley, Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps teacher at Hopewell High, received $5,000 to fund a three-day African-American history and heritage trip to Washington, D.C., which will include visits to unique landmarks, museums, churches and monuments.

Melissa Ligh, English teacher at Vance High, received $3,000 to purchase SwivlTM robots that record real-time video lessons. The technology will enable students to revisit lessons, provide an avenue for parents to guide learning and allow teachers to share lessons and best practices with other teachers across the district.

Sherri Moore and Raymond Beamon, Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers at West Mecklenburg High, received $4,000 to provide CTE academy students with formal business etiquette training. Students will use their acquired skills during a culminating CTE community luncheon.

Lashay Morgan, elementary literacy facilitator, and Vache Davis-Johnson, elementary counselor at Reedy Creek Elementary, received $5,000 to fund after-school group piano lessons. Students will be able to learn music techniques and fundamentals.

Candace Richardson, English teacher at Northridge Middle, received $3,000 to fund a diversity and inclusion presentation led by social activist Sam White, as well as, a global equality leaders research project.

Kyle Ward, English teacher at West Charlotte High, received $5,000 to fund an aquaponics farming system in the school's greenhouse. Students will conduct research and address community food deserts. It will also provide student volunteer opportunities.

Through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Foundation, the Hornets and FOX Sports Southeast have awarded $250,000 in Teacher Innovation Fund grants to CMS teachers since 2014. This is the seventh cycle of grants. 

"The Teacher Innovation Fund empowers teachers to provide the best educational experience possible to students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community," said Jeff Genthner, senior vice president and general manager for FOX Sports Southeast. "We truly value our partnership with the Charlotte Hornets and take great pride in supporting the educators serving Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools."