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Teachers get boost from Urban family grants

Nine Brookhaven School District teachers will each receive a $1,000 grant to assist them in pursuing advanced degrees or administrator status in the school system.

The grant money, provided by the Urban Teacher Appreciation Grant Foundation, is set aside each year by the Urban family of Brookhaven.

School board attorney Bob Allen assisted in approving the grant for teachers over 40 years ago.

“The Urban Grant was set up by the Urban family. It was originally called the Teacher’s Appreciation grant and then after Mr. Carl Urban died, they changed it to Urban Teacher Appreciation Grant,” Allen said.

Allen said the Urban family, who owned a clothing factory in Brookhaven, started giving back to its employees’ communities by providing scholarships for students.

“Once student loans became available, the Urban family wanted to do something for the teachers,” Allen said.

Since the Urban Grant funds were over $9,000 this year, the board approved to evenly divide the money between the applicants.

All nine recipients — Brookhaven High School science teacher Katie Cole, Alexander Jr. High SPED teacher Jillian Fuller, Mamie Martin first-grade teacher Susannah Godard, AJH eighth-grade English teacher Kimberly Kolpek, BHS science teacher Shonique McLaurin, Brookhaven Technical Center polymer science teacher Leah Ann Peavey, Mamie Martin language teacher Rachel Powell, BHS English teacher Katie Vinson and AJH history teacher Markeyta Wilson — will receive their grant money during the teacher awards ceremony.

Many of the recipients, like Powell, wanted to pursue a higher degree to impact more students.

“I would like to participate in the Alternate Leadership Program to obtain my certification in administration, and help all students achieve success in our schools,” Powell said. “After I complete the program I am open to exploring opportunities in leadership in Brookhaven School District, whether that be through an administrative position or a position related to curriculum.”

One degree of teaching was never the goal for Kolpek. After two years of teaching in the district, she has applied for the grant to pursue her master’s degree in English.

“This grant will help me gain more knowledge about my subject area to help me best teach students of the Panther community,” Kolpek said. “After completing my graduate study, I will continue teaching English. I already have arguably the world’s best job but look forward to this grant helping me have a sharper edge as an educator.”

The teacher grants were announced at the Brookhaven School District meeting Tuesday.

In other business:

• The board approved the consent agenda including the March 30-31 extreme winter weather condition leave for employees, choir fundraiser, pre-school school supply lists and handbook revisions for the 2017-2018 school year.

• The board approved a state of emergency for Fannie L. Mullins Alternative School due to a failed air conditioning chiller caused by a power surge. 

• The board accepted a $1,100 donation from the Mt. Wade Missionary Baptist Church Men’s Senior Mission to Mullins. 

• The board approved Linda Reeves, finance director, to be designated as the entity administrator of Brookhaven School District regarding the System for Awards Management.

• The board approved the salary scale for the 2017-2018 school year.

• The board approved the Administrators’ salaries for the 2017-2018 school year.

• The board approved the employment of Bob Allen as board attorney for the 2017-2018 school year.

• The board announced the public hearing for the Brookhaven School District’s budget for 2017-2018 will be June 20 at 6 p.m. in the conference room at the central office.

• The financial report for March 2017 was approved.