Cooperative Kenan Fellows Make Lasting Impact

Kenan Fellow Noal Castater works with Haywood EMC

Electric cooperatives in N.C. are proud of their longstanding partnership with the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership, a statewide collaborative that advances excellence in local education and workforce development. With a special focus on rural areas, Kenan Fellows partners with local industry to make STEM learning relevant for students, helping them see how classroom concepts apply in the real world and providing insight into local career opportunities.

Nine Kenan Fellow educators have worked directly with N.C. electric co-ops since 2014, going behind the scenes to learn how cooperatives are building a brighter future and then sharing those lessons with students, parents, their district and beyond. Their work continues to have an impact, including these achievements by the most recent two co-op Fellows:

Kenan Fellow Noal Castater works with Haywood EMC

Noal Castater, 2020 Kenan Fellow, works with Haywood EMC to connect STEM lessons to real-world applications.

Erica Levai, hosted by Tri-County EMC in Dudley, is now an assistant principal at Wallace Rose High School. She was named a 2020 Duplin County Schools Persons of the Year Teacher of the Year Representative before she left James Kenan High School. Erica has implemented her lesson, “Electrifying Art,” and she delivered a presentation on co-planning using the standards to create common assessments, intervention strategies, and teaching strategies to a group of eight educators.

Noal Castater, hosted by Haywood EMC, was featured in The Mountaineer. He has received a North Carolina Schools Go Outside (GO) Grant from the N.C. Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council. “The grant was created to address the main barrier to getting kids outside during the school day – funding,” according to their website. Last month, Noal was selected as his school’s representative to lead a tour for State Superintendent Catherine Truitt.

Erica and Noal are two of more than 500 outstanding teachers who have trained as Kenan Fellows in the past 21 years. Each Fellowship focuses on developing leadership and fostering advancements that make a lasting impact, as evidenced by these accomplishments:

  • Seven Kenan Fellows have won the Outstanding Educator Award in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education presented by the N.C. Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center
  • Four Kenan Fellows have received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
  • Three Kenan Fellows have been selected for the prestigious national Albert Einstein Distinguished Educators Fellowship
  • On average, alumni lead 45 hours of professional development a year

The Kenan Fellows Program is preparing for its 2022 fellowships now, which provide unparalleled professional development in a close cohort of 20-30 educators. For more information about how the Kenan Fellows Program is connecting outstanding educators with mentors in local industry and business settings to create opportunities that build meaningful relationships, visit