The TEF Innovative Teaching grant program is a hallmark of the Temple Education Foundation. For 30 years, TEF has been supporting TISD teachers by encouraging them to dream big for their classrooms. The TEF Grant chairperson, Sharon Williams, explained “Innovative Teaching Grants strives to be a springboard for innovative ideas that teachers otherwise would not be able to accomplish without the funding and support of the Education Foundation.”
This fall Kristy Brischke, Executive Director of the Temple Education Foundation, received a surprising call. Boyd Taylor, a 1949 Temple High School graduate, called about establishing a grant specifically for teachers in the liberal arts. Now an author of five novels and numerous short stories, Mr. Taylor explained that while in high school, “teachers who influenced [me] most were liberal arts teachers.” He added, “in my case it was Olivia Jones, who taught me Latin and History, and Mary Elizabeth Holden, who taught me English.”
During Mr. Taylor and Kristy’s initial conversation, Mr. Taylor explained that with so much emphasis on STEM in high schools today, he wanted to impact the liberal arts. In high school, he was on the tennis team, co-editor of the high school newspaper, a member of the debate team and a cellist in the orchestra. Mr. Taylor attended Temple College and the University of Texas, where he received a B.A. with Honors and an LL.B. At Temple College, he was editor of the newspaper and a member of the state championship debate team. At Texas Law, he was on the Editorial Board of the Texas Law Review and a Quizmaster. He was awarded the Wright Morrow Scholarship. He was a member of Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity. He is a Keaton Fellow. Boyd and his wife Katherine Brown Taylor live in Austin. They have one son, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The Taylor Grant for Excellence in Teaching is a $5,000 grant for a liberal arts high school teacher to pursue professional development opportunities such as certifications, courses, training, and so forth. Applicants must:
– Demonstrate instructional expertise as well as innovation and creativity in teaching methods and classroom activities.
– Display the ability to engage students of varied backgrounds and abilities, cultivating joy of learning and critical thinking.
– Participate in activities that improve his or her knowledge and skill in the liberal arts.
– Share his or her own classroom success through mentoring, curriculum development, publishing, and/or presentations.
In the inaugural year, the recipient of the Taylor Grant for Excellence in Teaching the Liberal Artsis William Nelson. Mr. Nelson teaches graphic design at Temple High School. In his application discussing his creativity and innovation in the classroom, Mr. Nelson stated, “I have been working to integrate project based learning and cross curricular projects. For instance I have worked with AP English to create written stories to then be illustrated by my Graphic Design/Illustration students. I have also invited Game designers Taylor Fischer and Dakota Herold to have an hour long live virtual meeting to discuss creation and the industry of game design and production. I have had SCAD professor, “Daybreak” Illustrator and graphic novelist Brian Ralph visit in person to discuss how his graphic novel “Daybreak” was turned into a hit NETFLIX show.” Mr. Nelson plans to use the funds to take a graphic design course in order to enhance his teaching.
Additionally, Kaleigh Verett applied for the grant to help fund a language immersion program she hopes to do in the summer of 2023. Kaleigh Verett is the coordinator for Temple High School’s IB program and a french teacher. The committee decided to present her with the grant for 2023 already this spring so that she feels confident to complete her plans this coming fall. She stated in her application:
“I would spend the funds on a full-time language school in France in the summer of 2023. Because summer courses are in high demand, it’s necessary to enroll for the course and finalize all logistics in the fall. These language schools are full-time immersion programs for adults with a high level of French language. The French teacher course focuses on perfecting the French language while also learning pedagogical strategies specific to teaching a foreign language. In the school, I’d attend classes full-time for either 4 or 5 weeks. In the evenings and on the weekends, I’d be able to explore the city, travel around France, and immerse myself fully in the culture.”
Mr. Taylor was thrilled about this year’s recipients. He too attended a French immersion school and he stated “I am envious of people who have the talent to work with graphic design, especially 3D graphic design.” TEF feels these were the perfect choices for the grants. The Temple Education Foundation is thankful for Mr. Taylor and his generosity and allowing TEF to expand our grant funding to include professional development opportunities for liberal arts teachers. 60% of general funds raised each year go towards TEF’s innovative teaching grants program.