JEFFERSON —Barbara Heufel, a third-grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary School in Ashe County Schools, has been named a 2020-21 Kenan Fellow. Her fellowship was made possible through a partnership between the North Carolina Farm Bureau, the Ashe County Farm Bureau, the Alleghany County Farm Bureau, the Watauga County Farm Bureau and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University.

Heufel, who has been teaching for 14 years, is among the 19 teachers from across North Carolina who have been selected to participate in the 2020-21 fellowship year. Beginning in June, she will partner with industry experts from the NC Farm Bureau, Ashe County Farm Bureau, and Alleghany County Farm Bureau to engage in real-world experiences related to the Christmas tree industry in North Carolina.

She will use her experiences to create the content for a North Carolina-specific Christmas Tree Ag Mag which can be digitally dispersed, printed, and distributed, using the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Ag Mags as a template.

“Farm Bureau is proud to be a key partner in this teaching fellowship. Agriculture is our state’s number one economic driver. Christmas tree production is a vital part of North Carolina agriculture, and we currently rank second in the nation in the number of live Christmas trees harvested and sold,” said Shawn Harding, president of the NC Farm Bureau. “Many families across our state enjoy locally-grown trees during the holiday season and now they will have resources and tools that show them how their trees are grown and cared for right up until harvest.”

As part of the award, Kenan Fellows receive a $5,000 stipend and participate in 80 hours of professional development focused on project-based learning, digital learning and leadership development. Educators who complete the yearlong program remain in the classroom while growing professionally as part of a statewide network of teacher leaders. Today, an elite network of 493 Kenan Fellows are working to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in North Carolina and beyond.

“Thanks to the support of industry leaders such as local Farm Bureaus we are able to empower more teachers to ignite students’ passion for STEM in more locations across the state,” said Dr. Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership. “Their support also allows us to provide educators with knowledge of local career opportunities available to students and strengthens collaboration with industry. This is especially important in rural communities.”

About Farm Bureau: North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation was formed in 1936 as a non-profit general farm organization to serve and provide a unified voice for the interests and needs of the farming community. Today, North Carolina Farm Bureau serves as an advocate for our members at the local, state, national and international levels— providing educational, economic, public affairs, marketing, and various other services to our members. North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation remains steadfast in the mission to advocate for farm and rural families and has grown into the largest general farm organization in the state.

About the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership: Established in 2000 as an initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University, the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership addresses the critical need for high-quality professional development for educators and is the largest (science, technology, engineering, and math) STEM-focused teacher fellowship in North Carolina. The fellowships are made possible through the generous support of the program’s many corporate, education, and foundation partners. Visit kenanfellows.org to learn more.

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