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Teacher's passion for grant writing pays off with award

For Brenda Griffin, a fourth-grade teacher at Pink Hill Elementary School, writing grants is a skill. Winning grants is a passion.

Brenda GriffinAnd that passion – powered by her competitive nature, aided by her school’s systematic approach to researching and writing grants and encouraged by Pink Hill’s track record of success in winning what they apply for – has won Brenda Griffin herself Lenoir County Public School’s inaugural award for excellence in grant writing.

LCPS plans to reward individual teachers for grant-writing success annually as the award categories expand to include number of grants won. Griffin’s selection recognized the success she and the grant writing committee she chairs at Pink Hill Elementary had during the 2019-2020 school year, despite obstacles created by closing of schools because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Superintendent Brent Williams recently presented Griffin with a check for $1,000 as the award’s first winner.

“Our schools and teachers continue to write and submit and earn grants at an unprecedent rate. This is additional funding teachers have created through their direct efforts for use in their classrooms to benefit their students,” Williams said. “Congratulations to Mrs. Brenda Griffin who led all of our schools in grants written, submitted and earned. She’s still at it.”

A few of the competitive grants Griffin won in 2019-2020 provided her and other classes with funds for two field trips, $1,000 to augment the school’s grant-supported sustainable agriculture complex and copious classroom supplies.

“Mrs. Griffin joined our staff several years ago just at the time we were beginning to dabble in the grant writing process. With the realization that we are from a low-income area, utilizing grant funds to supplement and enrich student learning opportunities became an essential focus,” Pink Hill principal Lee Ann Hardy said. “Mrs. Griffin has been a leader in growing and encouraging our grant writing initiatives. We are extremely proud of her success in this area and we are excited about the opportunities these grants are providing our students.”

Griffin leads a grant-writing committee at Pink Hill Elementary that during 2019-2020 won 55 grants worth more than $25,652. Of those total grants, 15 went to Griffin and her classroom. She has been the school’s top grant writer for at least the past three years.

“I’m very proud to have been awarded this honor from Lenoir County Public Schools,” Griffin said. “I’m very thankful to my first principal in public schools, Donna Grady, who introduced me to grant writing and I had two awesome individuals who trained me and shared their gifts with me – Ms. Teresa Williams and Ms. Rita Hodges. I’m very thankful for Ms. Felicia Solomon, who always encouraged me to go after every opportunity, and now to Ms. Hardy, who always says we never back down from a challenge. I’m just thankful to all those people who have helped me become the grant writer I have become and that have always encouraged me.”

Griffin’s latest – and largest – grant win this past school year will bring $13,000 to Pink Hill Elementary for construction of an outdoor art center.