Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has named the 100 winners of its 2014 Teacher Creativity Fellowships. The organization will provide funding for projects including a comic book featuring math-based superheroes and a trip to England to learn to build stone walls.

February 18, 2014

News release

Indianapolis, Ind. — This summer 100 Indiana teachers, principals, guidance counselors and school librarians in K-12 education will pursue a broad range of imaginative projects designed to infuse their busy lives with personal renewal, intellectual revitalization and a healthy dose of fun. They are the recipients of Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowships.

Now in its 27th year, the Endowment's Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program continues to provide time, financial support and encouragement for Indiana educators to attend to their own intellectual and emotional health. This renewal enables them to engage and motivate their students even more effectively.

This year's fellowship recipients will spend their summers steeped in creative, personally fulfilling activities that reinvigorate their spirits. Dozens will travel to foreign locales on all seven continents to immerse themselves in new languages and cultures, often with a focus on gaining insight into the homelands of their students. Several will explore cities and landmarks they’ve long taught in the classroom but never seen first-hand, including a European history teacher who will embark on a whirlwind 25-site tour as part of her first European excursion.

Many participants will make things—garments, music, comic books, robots, pottery, landscape paintings, stained glass windows, even a traditional dry stone wall—and work towards meaningful personal goals like completing an Ironman triathlon, hiking the Himalayas, self-publishing a novel, tracing family lineage and learning to act.

Some fellowship recipients will unplug completely, while others will leverage technology to stay in contact with their families and schools via blogs, photo journals, websites and social media. All will return to their classrooms and offices in the fall with energy and a

renewed love of teaching. New classes, clubs, study units, presentations and project-based lessons will be formed to help students benefit from their educators’ fellowship experiences.

“Our state's teachers, principals, guidance counselors and school librarians give so much of themselves to their students,” said Sara B. Cobb, vice president for education at the Endowment.

“These individuals are precious resources, and Teacher Creativity Fellowships provide them with an important opportunity for renewal. Teachers get to become learners again as they explore their own curiosities and dreams, spend time in other parts of the world, pursue personal passions and just 'get away.' We regularly hear that these experiences have helped many Indiana educators regain their enthusiasm for their profession,” she said.

Including the 2014 class, more than 2,600 Indiana educators have received grants since the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program began in 1987. The recipients of these fellowships are selected from a competitive pool of applicants; about 450 applied for the $10,000 awards.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private foundation that supports the causes of community development, education and religion. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at



$10,000 fellowship recipients

Note: Year in parentheses denotes year of previous Teacher Creativity fellowship grant.


Anderson Community Schools

Highland Middle School

Karen L. Sipes (2006)

“Celebrating William: Anne Hathaway Shakespeare’s Memoirs of Her Love and Marriage”—create first-person performance as Anne Hathaway Shakespeare; attend Shakespeare festivals in U.S. and England; prepare for Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts’ Shakespeare Performance Exam in London


MSD Steuben County

Angola Middle School

Kathleen J. Aldrich (2004)

“In the Still of the Night: Writing a Titanic Bridge”—visit museums and historical sites; write a play for middle-school students about the Titanic contrasting lives of two young girls with the same name, one who sailed on the Titanic and one in modern time


Avon Community School Corp.

Avon High School

Lisa C. Kern

“Traveling Through Space and Time: Across North America in 1.8 Billion Years”—investigate geology in Nebraska, Utah, California, Arizona and New Mexico; post videos, photos and narrative to a video log


Beech Grove City Schools

South Grove Intermediate School

Mary S. Johnson & Caralee N. Evans

“Ring of Fire and Amazing Grace”—study volcanoes and marine life in Hawaii; visit aquariums in Chicago, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Indianapolis


Eastern Greene Schools

Eastern Greene Middle School

Amy E. Goodwin

From Amateur to Artist: In Ansel Adams’ Footsteps”—learn landscape photography at Yosemite’s Ansel Adams Gallery; visit and photograph Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier national parks; use Adams’ techniques to take photographs in Indiana state parks


Harmony School (private)

Matthew G. Rosenthal

“Connecting Through Music: Learning and Sharing the Music of Ethiopia”—investigate Ethiopian music and culture; learn to play hand drums and an Ethiopian string instrument (krar); write and perform songs based on the journey

Monroe County Community School Corp.

Bloomington High School North

Katherine E. Loser

“My Japanese Journey: Stitching Time, Places and Generations Together”—investigate Japanese customs, crafts, culture and textiles, including sashiko quilting; design Japanese commemorative quilt that chronicles the journey

Steven Philbeck

“Black, White and Blues: The Cultural Diffusion of American Blues Music”—trace the history of blues music and civil rights from the American South to Chicago to Europe

Highland Park Elementary School

Claire L. Clayton

“Irish Culture: More Than Paper Leprechauns”—enroll in Irish language immersion course for non-Irish nationals; attend Willie Clancy Festival of traditional Irish music and take accordion lessons

Jackson Creek Middle School

Jessica L. Willis (assistant principal)

“A Daylily Journey—From Greenhouse to Garden They Grow”—explore and learn the process of hybridizing daylilies; engage in greenhouse gardening of daylilies, perennials, annuals and vegetables


Clay Community School Corp.

North Clay Middle School

Murray Harbour

“Values of Acceptance: Cultural Lessons in the Tradition of Studs Terkel”—travel to the Appalachian Trail, New York and Ireland to retrace ancestors’ journeys; interview hikers, immigrants and Irish citizens and write their stories


Carmel Clay Schools

Creekside Middle School

Janet J. Distel

“From Indiana Teacher to Author Covering Alaska’s ‘Last Great Race on Earth’”—travel to Alaska to study the Iditarod; write a book for middle-school students


Duneland School Corp.

Chesterton High School

Robert J. DeRuntz (2002)

“Cartography in Constantinople”—develop cartography skills; map ancient architecture of Istanbul, Turkey, through the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires using two-dimensional sketching techniques


Culver Academies (private)

Phillip H. G. Blessman

“Heaven and Earth in Germany and Indiana”—collect samples in northern Indiana of rocks deposited by glaciers; analyze these rocks at a university laboratory in Germany


North Adams Community Schools

Bellmont Middle School

Karrie J. Hamilton

“Everyone Has a Story to Tell…”—attend writing workshops at Indiana and Oxford universities; visit sites that inspired Harry Potter books; begin an ant

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