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Grant program benefits teachers

Teachers awarded grants stand with employees and volunteers of the Fort Rucker Thrift Shop after receiving their grants during a ceremony at the thrift shop May 3. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Teachers awarded grants stand with employees and volunteers of the Fort Rucker Thrift Shop after receiving their grants during a ceremony at the thrift shop May 3. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: May 13, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 13, 2016) -- The Fort Rucker Thrift Shop is well known for helping people find some of the best deals on the installation, but it is also known for its involvement in helping local communities.

Thrift shop officials celebrated the second successful year of their teacher grant program and recognized 13 teachers during a ceremony at the thrift shop where they awarded more than $16,000 in grants to teachers of schools in the surrounding communities who educate and affect the lives of more than 1,400 students, according to Debbie Godfrey, Fort Rucker Thrift Shop vice chairman.

“This is the second year that the teacher grant program has been available to you, our area teachers, to assist you in creating the best learning environment for your students,” she said during the ceremony. “We are well aware of the moments when teachers have had to dig into their own pockets to cover additional expenses for their classrooms.”

The program was developed by the thrift shop board of directors as a collective effort of the board, employees and volunteers of the thrift shop, said Godfrey. Teachers applied for the grants and each application was reviewed based upon a rigorous rubric and only the top applications were funded.

When possible, projects were fully funded, but when not possible, as much funding was provided while still maintaining the feasibility of the project, she said.

“We’re very proud that this money will be used in your classrooms in teaching our children to the highest of standards,” said the vice chairman. “We ultimately hope that this program will give teachers, and thereby their students the means and tools necessary to always encourage learning everyday and provide an environment that allows our children to excel and dream beyond their wildest imaginations.”

The following are the teachers who were recognized.

Amanda Melby, D.A. Smith Middle School — Melby teaches 160 sixth-grade students on a daily basis and received her grant to provide Chromebooks for scientific exploration. She said she loves teaching because she feels it’s important that students are taught not only academic content, but kindness and compassion, as well.

Philip Smith, D.A. Smith Middle School — Smith teaches about 150 students a day and received his grant to start a Chromebook library for his (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education students. He said he loves the opportunity to interact with the next generation in hopes that each student will be able to make a positive impact in society.

Christina Rodgers, Rucker Boulevard Elementary School — Rodgers received her grant to help purchase mini tablets for the classroom. Teaching for 15 years, she said she loves to teach because it gives her the opportunity to touch the lives of today’s young people.

Natalie Owens, Lisenby Elementary School — Owens teaches nearly 500 students who all receive general music instruction once a week. She received her grant to purchase mini tablets for her music technology center, and said she is honored to continue the tradition of music education at the elementary level.

Amber Brouillard, Coppenville Junior High School — Brouillard teaches 170 students each year and received her grant to purchase robotics equipment to expand the automated and robotics subject area, and to start a robotics team at her school. She said every child deserves the very best chance possible.

Brittany Jones, Windham Elementary School — Jones teaches math to 80 second-grade students and will use her grant to purchase a 3-D printer for the classroom. She said she loves teaching and seeing her students learn and achieve goals they have set for themselves.

Laura Traylor, Lisenby Elementary School — Traylor said her grant will help to purchase mini tablets to help her students in working with technology. After teaching for 13 years, she still loves teaching in early childhood settings because she gets to help students learn.

Kim Patterson, Mixon Elementary School — A 19-year veteran of teaching, Patterson said there is never a dull moment in teaching and loves to interact with students. She will use her grant to purchase classic novels to help broaden her students’ interaction with literature.

Patti Mizell, D.A. Smith Middle School — Mizell teaches between 55-145 students a year and said teaching is a joy, especially when she sees young minds bloom with knowledge. She will use her grant to add to her Chromebook library, which the students use for research projects.

Lori Lucien, Mixon Elementary School — Teaching 65 students a year, Lucien will use her grant to purchase items needed for her “Measurement Mania” project. She said she loves being able to show her students how they can make their dreams become a reality.

Donna Lampley, Rucker Boulevard Elementary School — Lampley has been teaching for 20 years and said she looks forward to going to work every day to not only teach, but to be taught by her students. She will use her grant to purchase Chromebooks for her Interactive Technology Resource Center.

Rachel West, Lisenby Elementary School — West has been teaching for 12 years and said she loves teaching each day because it’s full of new challenges with never a dull moment. She will use her grant to purchase a photo printer and accessories for her students to learn to set up and understand timelines.

Tiffany Fowler, Hillcrest Elementary School — Fowler said she loves working with children and sees them as our hope for a better tomorrow. She currently teaches math and science, and will use her grant to put on a Math Carnival for all grade levels.

This article was originally published at

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