They spend the school year inspiring young minds to learn, create and discover. This summer 100 of Indiana’s most gifted K-12 educator will take time for their own exploration and growth through LilLy Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowships.
Now in its 28th year, the Endowment’s Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program gives Indiana teachers, principals, guidance counselors and school media specialists the financial support and encouragement to nurture their commitment to education. In doing so, the program seeks to strengthen Indiana schools. As educators tend to their own intellectual, emotional and physical wellbeing, they are better able
to engage and challenge their students. Each educator will receive a $10,000.00 grant that will support a summer project of personally and professionally fulfilling activities.
Many of the educators will travel internationally to explore the homelands of their increasingly diverse student bodies; others will experience language immersion; and some will trace their own ethnic heritage and family histories. Several educators plan to return to their schools to start new projects.
“This year’s Teacher Creativity Fellows have outlined renewal experiences that will truly integrate personal and professional renewal,” said Sara B. Bobb, vice president of education for Lilly Endowment. “As they engage new ideas and follow their own curiosities they will renew their enthusiasm for teaching.”
“These teachers, counselors, principals and librarians will go out into the world and reconnect with their calling as educators. They will come home refreshed,” Cobb said. “We regularly hear that these experiences help Indiana educators renew their commitment to their profession. As a result, their students benefit.”
Including the 2015 class, more than, 2,700 Indiana educators have received grants since the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program began in 1987. The recipients of these fellowships are selected from a competitive pool of applicants; about 500 educators applied for this round of $10,000.00 awards.
One of the grant recipients is Indianapolis Pike High School educator, Cheslea A. Hodges, submitting the proposal: “Finnish Education System by Day, Auroras by Night, It’s a Finn-Finn Situation”--- travel through Finland to examine its educational system; observe the Northern Lights.”
Cheslea is the daughter of Maryleen Brown of Great Bend and the late Chester (Chet) Brown. She graduated from GBHS in 1975 and Wichita State University with a Masters Degree in Communication Disorders and Science in 1980. She currently is a speech-language pathologist in Indianapolis, a multisensory tutor for people with dyslexia, and the Director of Camp Delafield - a summer camp for children with learning difficulties.
For over a decade, Finland has been ranked as having one of the best education systems in the world. Cheslea will spend three weeks in Finland, visiting 4-5 schools in different areas of the country, interviewing and observing the teachers and students. She plans on taking the information she learns back to her school district and sharing it with other teachers and administrators.
She will also complete one of her dreams of seeing an Aurora Borealis. At a very young age, Cheslea’s late grandpa, Claus Meier, took her hand and led her outside one night and pointed to the sky, saying, “Look, there’s Sputnik.” Little did he (or she) know it, but at that moment, Cheslea began a love of looking at everything in the sky. Cheslea would like to video an aurora and share it with her district’s planetarium so she might inspire someone else to dream big.