Prestigious Kenan Fellows Program Fosters Learning Beyond the Classroom - Carolina Country
September 2019

Pamela Johnson, a math teacher of Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students at Parkwood Middle School in the Union County Public Schools system, has been named Union Power’s 2019-20 Kenan Fellow. Her fellowship was made possible through a partnership between Union Power Cooperative, the North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at North Carolina State University.

Johnson has been teaching for five years and is among 27 teachers from across the state who were selected to participate in the 2019-20 fellowship year.

Union Power has always been committed to enhancing our communities through the education of our youth.

While at Union Power, she has worked alongside employees, exploring the history of the electric cooperative model, learning how power is generated and delivered, and how Union Power is innovating its services and enhancing systems to continue to meet, and exceed, the expectations of our members.

“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.”

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For three weeks, Johnson has been immersed in all aspects of the co-op – from Marketing and Energy Services, Engineering and Staking, to Customer Service, Right-of-Way (ROW), Information Technology (IT), and more! She has learned a lot about co-ops and the energy industry that she can apply not only to her teaching, but also her everyday life.

“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. I’ve asked lots of questions and have learned so much,” Johnson said. “Seeing the entire process – from the inception of electricity to service has been enlightening! 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.

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. Through Kenan Fellows and other educational programs, Union Power continues to strive to enhance the quality of life of our members and the communities we serve.

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