ECSU Receives $300,000 W. K. Kellogg Foundation Grant

ECSU Receives $300,000 W. K. Kellogg Foundation Grant

Dr. Gwen Williams

Elizabeth City State University is working to educate the next generation of teachers, and thanks to a recent $300,000 grant award from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 10 teachers-in-training will have the chance to work with area students.

The purpose of the grant is to help prepare the student-teachers to work in rural, high-need schools. IGNITE-Next Generation of New Teachers is a collaborative effort between ECSU, College of the Albemarle, and Halifax Community College.

"This grant will support students with an associates degree in obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Its purpose is to provide support in content knowledge, culturally relevant pedagogy, and project based learning,” said Dr. Gwendolyn Williams, Endowed Chair of the ECSU Education, Psychology, and Health Department. “This collaborative project will recruit, prepare, and license the teacher-education candidates to positively focus on the learning outcomes of students taught in high-need rural schools in North Carolina."

Student-teachers with an education associate’s degree will work through ECSU’s education program to reinforce skills, and gain new knowledge in the education field. They will enter ECSU and become more adept in the education process in an effort to enhance achievement in the region’s rural schools. The project will also prepare the student-teachers for a residency program.

The IGNITE project will also partner with the Northeast Academy of Aerospace and Advanced Technologies (NEAAAT). These student-teachers will have an opportunity to work with NEAAAT, located on the ECSU campus, and while they receive training as future educators, also lend their experience and enthusiasm for education to students in grades 7 through 11.

“The notion of ‘home-grown’ teachers can be a powerful force in rural North Carolina, and speaks volumes to the goal of nurturing relationships with our partnerships,” said Williams.

The need for more teachers in North Carolina has grown in recent years. The student-teachers working through the IGNITE project will work to decrease teacher turnover in Northeast North Carolina through coursework, professional development, and mentoring.

The IGNITE project supports ECSU’s mission of promoting economic, social, and environmental progress in the region.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. The Kellogg Foundation priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit