Haywood EMC and Tri-County EMC to Host Kenan Fellows

Two N.C. electric cooperatives are mentoring local teacher leaders through a continuing partnership with the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University.

Haywood EMC will partner with Noal Castater, a career technical education teacher at Waynesville Middle School, for a three-week internship based at their office in Waynesville. Noal has been teaching for 19 years, is National Board certified and is a repeat recipient of Bright Ideas grants from Haywood EMC.

“Sponsoring a Kenan Fellow is another way for Haywood EMC to give back to the communities we serve by providing opportunities to educators through a unique program that allows them to gain knowledge, as well as experience the day-to-day workings of an electric utility, which they can in turn pass along their students who one day may become employees of an electric cooperative such as Haywood EMC,” said Tom Batchelor, CEO and Executive Vice President with Haywood EMC.

Noal Castater, top left, and his class at Waynesville Middle School receiving a Bright Ideas grant from Haywood EMC in 2019.

Tri-County EMC will partner with Erica Levai, a science teacher at James Kenan High School in Duplin County, who will spend three weeks learning from mentors at the co-op’s office in Dudley. Erica has been teaching for 10 years and said the experience will provide new tools and resources to connect students with relevant experiences in the classroom.

“Tri-County EMC is committed to the educational flourish of students in the communities we serve, and we are thrilled to have Ms. Levai join us this summer to expand her knowledge of our electric cooperative,” said Mike Davis, General Manager with Tri-County EMC. “This partnership with the Kenan Fellows Program is a wonderful opportunity not only for the cooperative and Ms. Levai, but the students as well.”

Erica Levai

The year-long Kenan fellowships equip teachers to help students see real-world relevance in their lessons and be prepared for the future through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. Both Noal and Erica will partner with mentors and industry experts at their host cooperatives to explore how power is generated and delivered to members and communities. They will also learn about the cooperative business model and how electric co-ops are using innovation to meet and exceed the needs of their members. Noal and Erica will integrate these learnings into the lessons they teach students and develop a classroom project that will be implemented during the school year.

Including Noal and Erica, North Carolina electric cooperatives have sponsored and hosted nine Kenan Fellows since 2014. Learn more about the cooperatives’ commitment to education through programs like the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at NCElectricCooperatives.com/community.