Local Teacher Gets Hands-On Co-op Experience - Carolina Country

Local Teacher Gets Hands-On Co-op Experience

Kenan Fellow spent three weeks with Union Power Cooperative

Local Teacher Gets Hands-On Co-op Experience

Johnson tours Catawba Nuclear Station in York, SC.

Pamela Johnson, a math teacher of academically or intellectually gifted students at Parkwood Middle School in the Union County Public Schools system, spent three weeks this past summer at Monroe-based Union Power Cooperative as a 2019–20 Kenan Fellow. Her fellowship was made possible through a partnership between the electric co-op Union Power, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at North Carolina State University.

Kenan fellows

Pamela Johnson

“The sheer amount of information I’ve taken in is incredible. I feel like how my students must feel when learning a new subject area,” Johnson said. “I’ve asked lots of questions and have learned so much.”

For three weeks, Johnson worked alongside employees and was immersed in all aspects of the co-op — from marketing and energy services, engineering and staking, to customer service, right-of-way management, information technology and more.

“Seeing the entire process — from the inception of electricity to service has been enlightening!” she said. “The opportunity to talk to professionals in various roles and see how math specifically is used in their daily lives has given me much more ammunition to answer the age-old question we algebra teachers hear from our students so often: ‘When will I use this in real life?’”

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.

Kenan fellows

Plant Development Engineer Matt Baucom shows Johnson components of a fuse cutout.

“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 was 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 gained 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 enjoyed having her here and are excited to see how she will incorporate her learning experience back into the classroom.”

The Kenan Fellows Program, established in 2000 as an initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at NC State University, addresses the critical need for high-quality professional development for educators. North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives have sponsored seven educators as Kenan Fellows since 2014.

Learn more about the Kenan Fellows partnership at ncelectriccooperatives.com.

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