Each year, a number of Harker teachers apply for and are awarded grants to further their teaching skills thanks to the Raju and Bala Vegesna Foundation’s Teacher Excellence Program at Harker. The program began in 2015 and has sent a score of educators to seminars, study abroad programs and other educational opportunities. Grants are awarded to individuals and to groups, and are used for entry fees and travel expenses.
The gift from the Vegesnas, parents of Ramanand and Srivani, both rising juniors, enables Harker to support various new opportunities, explained Joe Rosenthal, executive director of advancement. “The mission of the teacher program is to enhance and further teachers’ abilities in a manner that has a direct and demonstrable impact on student learning,” he said.
This year’s awardees have chosen a wide variety of learning opportunities. Ann Smitherman, lower school English teacher, will be attending the Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Institute; lower school teachers Kate Shanahan, Heather Russell, Andi Bo and Mike Delfino, along with Mary Holaday, lower school dean of students, will all attend the 2018 National Forum on Character in Washington, D.C.; Rebecca Williams, middle school English teacher, will attend the Mariposa Foundation Volunteer Institute; Smriti Koodanjeri, upper school chemistry teacher, will attend the Academic Life Coaching Program; and upper school English teacher Charles Shuttleworth has constructed a special learning plan he will follow titled the “Jack Kerouac Experience” that will enrich his students’ understanding and appreciation of Beat literature and Kerouac’s writing in particular.
To read about all the great activities in which teachers have participated, just search for Vegesna Grant in Harker News.