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Press Release



November 25, 2019
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, proudly announces today that twenty exceptional educators have been selected to receive $500 scholarship or grant awards to help 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.

“The caliber of proposals submitted exemplifies the highest levels of professionalism and dedication to innovative, student-focused teaching,” said the executive director of the Association of American Educators and Association of American Educators Foundation, Colin Sharkey. “We are honored to award the funds that will support purchasing materials for sensory gardens, robotics, state-of-the-art technology, and student-created podcasts, as well as allow educators to experience professional development opportunities across the country.”

The October 2019 recipients are:

Classroom Grant:

  • Christi Bello, Ellicott City, Maryland
  • Jessica Caraballo, Camden, New Jersey
  • Darwin Daugaard, Dell Rapids, South Dakota
  • Amy Goldberg-Tseng, Passaic, New Jersey
  • Garrett Hargiss, Ironton, Missouri
  • Rebekah Kienenberger, Gilbert, Arizona
  • Jennifer Klein, West Jordan, Utah
  • Padma Lingechetty-Isom, Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Jenna McKinney, Trenton, New Jersey
  • Matthew Persico, Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Christine Schlater, Celina, Ohio
  • Brian Smith, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Melissa Tracy, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Dana Wales, New York City, New York
Teacher Scholarship:
  • Telia Bennet, Somerset, New Jersey
  • Hollie Carroll, Hume, California
  • Erica Marsh, Decatur, Georgia
  • Matthew Stevens, Asbury Park, New Jersey
  • Ami Ware, Aubrey, Texas
  • Joyce Westenhofer, Santa Ana, California
AAE senior professional programs manager Melissa Pratt noted, “Educators have an almost infinite capacity for imagination and innovation regarding new ways to serve their students. Often, the only thing that is missing is funds. Through this program, we’re able to meet that need and help our applicants be the professionals they want to be.”

The AAE Foundation National Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Grant Program is open to all educators, not just members of AAE and its state chapters. 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, non-union, 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 which includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional resources and many other benefits. Visit for more information.