This story was updated April 11, 2018, at 11:58 p.m.

This summer, 16 Hamilton County educators will have the opportunity to travel the globe, thanks to the national Fund for Teachers program and Chattanooga's Public Education Foundation.

The teachers, representing 12 public schools in Hamilton County, will visit Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Ireland, Italy and Peru, among others, to pursue learning experiences they can share with their students.

Teachers receive either a $5,000 individual grant or $10,000 as a team, of the $76,000 allotted by Funds for Teachers for Hamilton County Schools.

"PEF is committed to providing teachers with opportunities to continue their learning. Over the last seven years, our partnership with Fund for Teachers has allowed more than 150 Hamilton County teachers to deepen their knowledge and then share what they have learned with their students. The teachers who earn Fund for Teachers Fellowships exemplify the best of their profession," said Dan Challener, PEF president, in a statement.

In the past, fellows have traveled to places such as Guatemala to meet the families of their students, to Iceland to gather ideas for unique science classes, and even locally to understand the near extinction and attempts to save the red wolf.

The partnership between Fund for Teachers and PEF has provided nearly $600,000 in grants to more than 150 area teachers over the past six years.

This year's Fund for Teachers Fellows cohort includes:

  • Lauren South and Anna Barton of Soddy Daisy Middle School, who will explore Spain and France to learn about Pablo Picasso and Earnest Hemingway and discover ways to use art to teach students how to create their own original visual and written stories.
  • Daniel DeScalzo and Tarah Kemp of Dupont Elementary, who will visit Volkswagen Europe plants and their partner schools in Spain, Belgium, and Germany to learn more about their career pipelines to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) industry.
  • Rita Schubert of East Ridge Elementary and Vinnie Taneja of Apison Elementary, who will travel to Peru and Chile for a Spanish language and cultural immersion.
  • Felicion McMillion-Diakhate of Barger Academy, who will attend The Summer Dance Institute in Seattle, Washington to research Anne Green Gilbert's Brain Dance and Creative Movement curriculum..
  • Grant Knowles of Normal Park Museum Magnet, who will visit National Parks to develop a virtual reality documentation of their designs which students can use fort immersive experiences in the classroom.
  • Amanda Edens of East Side Elementary, who will follow the Civil Rights Trail through Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C., to deepen her understanding of this historic movement and the way these events still impact the lives of her students and her instruction.
  • Kim Brown of Signal Mountain Middle/High, who travel to Costa Rica to create resources, photographs and videos that will allow students to virtual explore the environment.
  • Julie Tufts of Ooltewah Elementary and Zach Tufts of East Side Elementary, who will explore castles and surrounding areas in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Ireland to inform students of the reality and fictional characterization of life in these places.
  • Beth Wilson of Red Bank Elementary, who will visit inter-generational centers in Paris, France and Denmark to build a curriculum that reconnects students with elders in their communities.
  • Tammy Johnson of Lookout Mountain Elementary, who will research marine and water conservation efforts in national marine sanctuaries of California and Florida to inspire students to become conservation problem solvers and promote sustainable practices in the school.
  • Autum McCamish and Kaylan Reinisch of Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, who will research Italian cultural practices that lead to longevity and design curriculum that promotes habits of holistic, healthy living.

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.