R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence Winner

Something very exciting happened to me this past week. It has been in the works for months, but I was too scared to share for fear I would jinx it, or worse, not win then have to explain to people that I didn’t win (which felt a little terrifying). But on Monday, at a special event at the Virginia Historical Society, I found out that I was one of sixteen winners to win grant money to participate in a professional development project that I had proposed based on a lifelong dream.

Earlier last year, one of my field placements nominated me for an an REB Award for Teaching Excellence. Here is the overview of the award on their website:

The R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence were established in 1988 to recognize public school teachers who have distinguished themselves by their inspiring classroom performance. This program has been developed by The Community Foundation and is funded by the R.E.B. Foundation.  The R.E.B. Foundation believes that a child’s educational experience at the elementary, middle, and high school levels should develop basic skills and form positive life-long habits toward learning and discipline. The R.E.B. Foundation is committed to improving public education so as to benefit a broad segment of the community.

The R.E.B. awards are designed to identify, recognize, and support teaching excellence in the metropolitan Richmond public school systems. Grants ranging from $4,000 to $12,000 each will be given to approximately fifteen teachers to support professional development activities. Recipients will be required to share educational ideas and experiences with fellow teachers.

Nominations were due on February 23. After this date, I was invited to complete an application and my principal was asked to write a letter of support. That was due a month after nominations were due. From there, I just waited.

A few months later (I think it was months?) I found out I was a finalist. Out of over 100 teachers who had been nominated, I was one of 34 finalists selected to complete and submit a professional development proposal. I attended a workshop in June and had until August 5th to complete and submit my proposal, including a detailed budget and two essays describing the project and the dissemination plan.

I got to work. I started brainstorming places I wanted to travel and things I wanted to do. I’ve only been out of the USA once, and never out of the Western Hemisphere, so this was potentially the opportunity of a lifetime. There were so many places I wanted to go. I finally decided that I wanted to tie this to my families heritage and my writing instruction. I’ve attached my essays and my budget proposal below, because I don’t want to bore anyone who doesn’t want to read it.

My statement of purpose said I planned

To improve research and writing instruction by traveling to England, France, Germany and Italy to study ancestral culture and history, participating in creative writing classes and composing and publishing original works based on these experiences.

My proposal takes me to nine cities or towns in these four countries, including London, Oxford, Paris, Strasbourg, Hannover, Oldenburg, and Rome, plus two small communal villages in Italy, the birth place of my grandmother’s parents – Castel di Ieri and Chiauci.

Read more here…



Cole Budget Sheet

Proposals were due on August 5th and then I waited more. I had a scheduled interview on September 29th. Then I had to wait even more. All of the finalists were invited to an award ceremony on November 9th. And…

I WON!!!

I’m in the red sweater, center right.

(Link to the article that was in the newspaper HERE)
I’m still in shock. I can’t believe I won. I’m going to spend 6 weeks in Europe.

Now, the we are trying to figure out how to take the whole family. This is an amazing opportunity for me, but I want to take my kids. They are old enough to appreciate and remember the trip for the rest of their lives.

So, there it is. I’m so happy and honored to be one of the 2015 REB Award Winners.



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