Inventive teachers win $25K in grants from Flint

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Flint Energies and its philanthropic arm, the Flint Energies Foundation, awarded a total of $25,000 to 29 teachers for creative and innovative lesson plans in the fourteenth year of the Co-op’s Bright Ideas program.

Winning teachers were surprised by Bright Ideas Prize Brigade representatives from Flint Energies with flowers, balloons, gift bags and “big” checks throughout the first two weeks of November. The Bright Ideas program distributes grants of up to $1,000 for teachers to implement creative and innovative lesson plans that directly impact the students they work with. The grants are not available for professional development, Smart Boards, laptops, iPads, or subscription service requests.

This year $25,000 in Bright Ideas grants were given to winning teachers and their team members at schools in Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Marion, Muscogee, Peach, Schley, Taylor, and Upson.

“Through these funds, Flint Energies is able to partner with educators who are inspiring their students to go beyond expectations and thrive,” says Hannah Sloan, Community Connections Specialist. “This grant sparks creativity in not only the teachers, but also the students.”

Earlier this year, Flint Energies and its Foundation invited teachers of grades Pre-K through 12 located in the Co-op’s service territory to apply for the grant. Flint Energies service area encompasses parts of Bibb, Chattahoochee, Crawford, Dooly, Harris, Houston, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Muscogee, Peach, Schley, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Twiggs and Upson counties. In September, the Cooperative received 73 grant applications. A panel of retired educators served as judges and reviewed the applications. The top scoring lesson plan ideas were funded.

2020 Bright Ideas grant winners:

  • Kelley Rice, Sensory Room, Bonaire Elementary School, Bonaire, $820
  • Karen Yeager, Mad Scientist, Bonaire Middle School, Bonaire, $1,000
  • Alison Wheeler, “Filling in the Gaps” with ELL Students, Byron Elementary School/Hunt Elementary School, Byron/Ft. Valley, $1,000
  • Katie Rice, Science in our Hands, Crawford County Elementary School, Roberta, $997.93
  • Carrie Green, Planting with our Kinder “Garden”!, Crawford County Eagle’s Nest, Roberta, $997.67
  • Joshua Evans, Virtual Music Learning, Double Churches Middle School, Columbus, $967.80
  • Matthew Hunt, Kinesthetic Learning During a Pandemic…Oh my!, Feagin Mill Middle School, Warner Robins, $930.77
  • Stephanie Justen, Autism Sensational Sensory Room, Houston County High School, Warner Robins, $1,000
  • Eugenia Caban-Andino, Sing With Your Hands!, Kings Chapel Elementary, Perry, $629.97
  • Peyton Profitt, Ecocolumns in AP Environmental Science, Marion County Middle High School, Buena Vista, $1,000
  • Shacandice Thomas, Inviting Literacy into the Classroom, Morningside Elementary School, Perry, $850.00
  • Julie Ann Feezor, Playground Planting Partners, Quail Run Elementary School, Warner Robins, $815.39
  • Rebecca English, Anatomy Models, Rutland High School, Macon, $1,000
  • Robin Hall, Books-A-Million, Schley County Elementary School, Ellaville, $1,000
  • Ginger Gilpin, Flam-a Diddle Crash Boom, Schley County Middle High School, Ellaville, $845
  • Benita Blackwell and Fridos Sayaed, COVID-19 Fishbowl, SOAR Academy Personalized Learning Center, Macon, $300
  • Maria Munoz, Picture-Perfect STEM, St. Mary’s Magnet Academy, Columbus, $950
  • Sheila Burke, Reading for Fitness, St. Peter Claver Catholic School, Macon, $969.87
  • Kayla York, Pre-K Garden, Taylor County Primary School, Butler, $354.19
  • Maci Hess, Adjusting Recipes, Taylor County Upper Elementary School, Butler $641
  • Jessica Green, Learning and Building Though K’Nex, Thomson Middle School, Warner Robins, $773.54
  • Sarah McLane, Engagement in the Gifted and Talented Room, Upson-Lee Primary School, Thomaston, $939.58
  • Tressie Hopkins, School Sensory Room, Upson-Lee Primary School, Thomaston, $1,000
  • Ashanti Brawner, Lights Out Literacy!, Upson-Lee Elementary School, Thomaston, $965.45
  • Jessica Dunn, The Power of Play, Upson-Lee Elementary School, Thomaston, $996.89
  • Jody Thompson, Capturing Our Growth/STEM Documentaries, Upson-Lee Elementary School, Thomaston, $694.95
  • Amanda Bone, ACDC Economics, Warner Robins High School, Warner Robins, $610
  • Amanda Hayes, Project Green Thumb, Warner Robins Middle School, Warner Robins, $1,000
  • Brandi Dent, Creative Dreams, Warner Robins Middle School, Warner Robins, $950

Younisha Elmadany, a teacher at Crawford County High School in Roberta, won an iPad mini for her classroom in the early bird drawing.

About Operation Round Up and Flint Energies Foundation

Flint Energies began its Bright Ideas program in 2006 and has awarded nearly $275,000 in grant money to teachers for 284 projects teaching more than 8,520 students in Middle Georgia.

Flint Energies adopted this uniquely simple and rewarding way to enable members to raise money for local charities and service organizations—Operation Round Up®. The electric cooperative’s members contribute nearly $200,000 annually to the Flint Energies Foundation, which supports worthy causes in the 17 counties it serves. Operation Round Up is a way for members to add voluntarily to those funds in their own unique way. Participating members allow Flint Energies to “round up” their bill to the nearest dollar. On average, a member will contribute only about $6 a year. Nearly 40% of Flint’s members have chosen to participate. Donations to Operation Round Up are tax deductible.

The Flint Energies Foundation, a state-chartered, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, disburses all contributions to approved projects; member contributions are not used for administration costs. Foundation Board members include Chairman Kathy Waites, Fort Valley; Vice Chairman Joanne Hamlin, Lizella; Secretary Connie McCutchen, Midland; Treasurer John Luppino, Warner Robins; Gina Fink, Kathleen; Charles Harrison, Grovania; Pat Bartness, Warner Robins; Traci Kemp, Warner Robins; Rudy Killingsworth, Buena Vista; Eloise Doty, Butler and Betty Chase, Oglethorpe.

Funding applications are available by contacting Flint Energies at 1.800.342.3616 or visiting the My Community section of