Union Power Cooperative Names 2019-2020 Kenan Fellow

Union Power Cooperative has named Pamela Johnson, a teacher of mathematics and Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students at Parkwood Middle School in the Union County Public Schools system, as its 2019-20 Kenan Fellow. Her fellowship was made possible through a partnership between Union Power Cooperative, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University.

Johnson, who has been teaching for five years, is among 27 teachers from across North Carolina who have been selected to participate in the 2019-20 fellowship year. Beginning in June, she will work alongside mentors and industry experts at Union Power, exploring the history of the electric cooperative model, learning how power is generated and delivered, and how Union Power is innovating its services and enhancing systems to continue to meet, and exceed, the expectations of its members.

Johnson will transfer this knowledge to her students by creating lessons that will help them understand how electricity is produced and delivered to cooperative members. Her lessons will also increase their awareness of various career pathways in the energy field and at electric cooperatives.

“Union Power has always been committed to enhancing our communities through the education of our youth. Being able to implement the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership this year is a wonderful opportunity, not only for our Kenan Fellow, but for the company as well,” said Luanne Sherron, Union Power vice president of Key Accounts and Government Relations. “Ms. Johnson will get great insight into how we function as an electric cooperative and operate on a day-to-day basis to bring power to our members. We are excited to have her and to see how she will incorporate her learning experience back into the classroom.”

As a 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 year-long program remain in the classroom while growing professionally as part of a statewide network of teacher leaders. Today, an elite network of more than 450 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 Union Power and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, 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. “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.”

Established in 2000 as an initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University, the Kenan Fellows Program 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 including North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives and Union Power Cooperative. Johnson will be the seventh educator hosted as a Kenan Fellow by a North Carolina electric cooperative since 2014.

Visit the In the Community section of our website to learn more about our ongoing partnership with the Kenan Fellows Program.