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Press Release



November 20, 2020
Contact: Christina Mazzanti

Association of American Educators Foundation Announces National Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Grant Recipients


Alexandria, VA – The Association of American Educators Foundation (AAEF) a 501(c)(3) organization supporting the mission of the Association of American Educators (AAE), a national professional association serving educators in all fifty states, is pleased to announce that twenty-three exceptional educators have been selected to receive scholarship or grant awards of up to $500 to help them realize their professional training goals and develop student-focused projects, content, and activities. The AAE Foundation National Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Grant program encourages innovative practices and professional excellence for all educators and has awarded hundreds of thousands dollars to classrooms across the country through a competitive biannual selection process.


“In this challenging school year when educators face numerous obstacles to the access and delivery of equitable education for learners of all abilities, we found the determination and creativity of our national applicants to be exceptional,” said the executive director of the Association of American Educators and Association of American Educators Foundation, Colin Sharkey. “It is these educators’ unwavering dedication to their students and their reimagining of what school can and must be, that we salute and support through this generous funding program.”


The October 2020 recipients are:


Classroom Grant:

Taryn Bell, Atlanta, Georgia
Elise Bohorquez, Sherman Oaks, California
Crystal Byrd, Liberty, Missouri
Candace Cain, Burwell, Nebraska
Hakeem Greenhill, Newnan, Georgia
Katie Harris, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Shelli Hemerson, Anaheim, California
Allison Kirby, Westminster, Maryland
Danielle Madsen, West Palm Beach, Florida
Polina Mann, West Haven, Connecticut
JoAnn Rivas, Newport News, Virginia
Taylor Thomas, Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia
Ben Vallejo, Canoga Park, California
Anna Williams, Miami-Dade County, Florida

Special COVID-19 Relief Grant:

Susan DeLoach, Pacoima, California
Michelle Manuel, Deltona, Florida

Teacher Scholarship:

Cindy Alvear, Chicago, Illinois
Stacey Lynn Gelhart, Las Vegas, Nevada
Tanisha Grayson, Roselle, New Jersey
Ashley Jenkins, Norcross, Georgia
Pradip Misra, Bagdad, Arizona
Anna Owenby, Poplarville, Mississippi
Margaret Tahtabrounian, Passaic, New Jersey


AAE senior professional programs manager Melissa Pratt noted, “There has never been a more important time to be responsive to educators’ needs and concerns for their students. As most educators have now taken on the additional role of “problem solver,” increasingly, recent applications address unique solutions to provide instruction to meet their students’ needs, rather than enhancements to existing materials or programs.”


The AAE Foundation National Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Grant Program is open to all full-time educators. Applications are considered twice-a-year and evaluated by a volunteer review committee of educators throughout the nation.


The Association of American Educators (AAE) is the largest national, nonunion, professional educator organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to educator empowerment and advocacy—promoting professionalism, collaboration, and excellence without a partisan agenda. AAE is committed to a teaching profession that is student oriented, well respected, and personally fulfilling. AAE serves members in all fifty states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $16.50 per month and includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional resources, and many other benefits. Classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, student teachers, university professors, and supporters can learn more at