Six County Schools Receive TVA Grant

Six County Schools Receive TVA Grant

Marla Jones, Managing Editor

RAINSVILLE, ALA.-- (Full video on Southern Torch Facebook) The DeKalb County Board of Education met on January 19, 2023.

Six DeKalb County Schools will benefit from STEM grants awarded by the Tennessee Valley Authority. These schools include Crossville Middle, Collinsville, Sylvania, Plainview, Henagar, and Ider. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Inc., a TVA retiree organization, awarded grants to educators in public schools to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education projects across the Tennessee Valley.

“TVA is focused on supporting clean-energy technologies and STEM education that helps today’s students develop the skills needed to work in these careers,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president, and chief external relations officer. “Innovation is the key to success, and it’s inspiring to contribute to the next generation’s visionaries."

The competitive STEM classroom grant program received 458 grant applications this year, and 238 were selected for funding. This year, the program will support about 136,000 students across seven states with hands-on STEM activities.  

“The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is honored to partner with TVA in this exciting grant program to further STEM education endeavors across the state,” said Gretchen Brown, operations director. “This opportunity can make a difference for educators and students as they incorporate 21st-century skills and real-world problem-solving. It is a privilege to work with this partnership year after year and continue to serve the incredible educators of the Tennessee Valley.”

Grants are awarded in urban and rural areas to meet the diverse needs of local communities.  Grants up to $5,000 were awarded in a competitive process, and preference was given to grant applications that explored TVA’s primary areas of focus: environment, energy, economic development, and community problem-solving. Any school that receives its power from a local power company served by TVA was eligible to apply.

“Supporting education and ensuring students have a solid STEM background is critical to our children’s future no matter what career path they take,” said TVA Public and Community Engagement Program Manager Trina Gallman. “I am proud of the partnerships we have built to help these educators inspire their students through the STEM activities this program will provide.”

The Board expressed their Condolences and Remembrance of Crossville High School Senior, Defino Reza, and Sylvania Science Teacher,  Nathan Parham.

The Board approved the following Early Graduations: 

  •  Vitatina Velasquez Agustin - Collinsville High School 
  • Vanessa Hernandez Maldonado - Collinsville High School 

The Board approved the following  Retirements/Resignations:

  • Donny Johnston - Bus Driver - Fyffe Special Services Center - Retirement - 12/1/22 
  •  Donna Gifford - CNP Worker - Collinsville High School - Resignation - 1/14/23 
  • William Ott - Bus Mechanic - Bus Garage - Resignation - 1/17/23 
  • Mandy Smith - Assistant Custodian (9-month/7-hour) - Geraldine High School - Resignation - 1/5/23 

The following Leaves of Absence were granted:

  • Jordan Gilbert - Elementary Teacher - Geraldine High School - 1/28/23-4/2/23
  •  John Daniel Pope - Shop Foreman - Transportation - 11/23/22-2/8/23 
  • Joni Mitchell Davis - Mathematics Teacher - Geraldine High School - 9/6/22-5/25/23 (Extended from 3/10/23) 
  •  Alicia Shrader - Assistant Secretary - Fyffe High School - 1/19/23-5/26/23 
  • Amanda McKee - CNP Worker - Fyffe High School - 8/1/22-1/27/23 (Extended from 1/2/23) 
  • Antonia Cordell - English Language Arts Teacher - Crossville Middle School - 
  • 1/3/23-2/3/23 
  •  Sherry Pettis - Pre-K Auxiliary Teacher - Crossville Middle School - 2/6/23-5/12/23 
  •  Lacie Fricks - Elementary Teacher - Sylvania High School - 2/6/23-3/10/23 
  • Ariel Brumbeloe - Mathematics Teacher - Crossville High School - 3/23/23-5/26/23 

A  On-the-Job Injury was approved:

  • Sharlyn Huber - Physical Education Teacher - Ider High School - 2 days 

The following Transfers were made:

  • Alexa Williams from Elementary Teacher to Elementary Counselor at Crossville Elementary School (Effective 1/2/23) 
  • Jesse Martin from Itinerant Special Education Teacher at Fyffe Special Services Center to Itinerant Special Education Teacher at Fyffe High School  (Effective 1/2/23)
  •  Holly Murdock from Itinerant Special Education Teacher at Valley Head High School to Itinerant Special Education Teacher at Fyffe Special Services Center (Effective 1/2/23) 

The following Placements were made: (All placements are made pending a background review meeting suitability criteria and negative, pre-employment drug screen and appropriate certification) 


  • Breanna Swords - Elementary Teacher - Crossville Elementary School  (Effective 1/2/23) 
  • Olivia Isbell - Itinerant Special Education Teacher - Valley Head High School  (Effective 1/17/23) 


  • Jesse Martin - Bus Driver - Fyffe Special Services Center 
  • Tonya Causey - Title I Aide - Crossville Middle School 
  • Hannah Crenshaw - Assistant Custodian (9-month/7-hour) - Geraldine High School 

The Board approved the following Volunteer Coaches:

Crossville High School 

  • Marlene Lopez - Girls Varsity Soccer 
  •  Maria Garcia - Girls Varsity Soccer 
  •  Lizeth Aragon - JV Girls Soccer 
  •  Jimmy Franco - JV Boys Soccer 
  •  Todd Dismuke - Varsity Soccer 

Fyffe High School 

  •  William Stephens - Baseball 

Plainview High School 

  •  John David Willoughby - Basketball 

Valley Head High School 

  • Walter Watts - Baseball 

The Board approved the following Teaching  Contracts :

  • Christie Deere - Math Teacher - Geraldine High School 
  • Katherine Ables - English Language Arts Teacher - Geraldine High School 
  • Carolyn K. Johnson - English Language Arts Teacher - Fyffe High School
  •  Tim Cochran - English Language Arts Teacher - Fyffe High School 
  •  Jodie Maze - Elementary Teacher - Crossville Elementary School 

 The Board congratulated CNP Director April Shrader and the entire CNP staff on a very successful Federal CNP review. The review committee found only minor findings for correction and was very complimentary of the DeKalb County CNP program. 

The Board expressed appreciation to Mr. Rick Baker for his pledge of 250 scholarships over the next 10 years to Crossville High School graduates. Mr. Baker is a very successful businessman and alumnus of Crossville High School class of 1977. 

The date of the next DeKalb County Board of Education will be held on February 16, with the work session beginning at 4:30 and the regular meeting at 5:00 P.M., Work Session at 4:30 p.m. at the Facilities Building in Rainsville.

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