2024 Bright Ideas Grants Awarded

Exploring the inner workings of robotics and coding, producing sculptures with polymer clay and diving deeper into rotational inertia are just some of the many opportunities offered to area students through projects funded by CAEC’s Bright Ideas Grant Program in 2024.

The Bright Ideas Grant Program was introduced more than 20 years ago with a goal of supporting innovative, interesting and effective initiatives that school funding does not usually cover. Grants help enhance teachers’ efforts and are awarded to individuals or teams in public, private and home schools within CAEC’s service area.

Applications were reviewed by a panel of judges from local community associations. They awarded $24,000 in grants to 24 projects across 21 different schools, benefiting almost 7,000 students within five counties in CAEC’s service area.

“I cannot express how truly thankful we are to have such dedicated individuals instructing and influencing the future leaders and workforce of our communities,” said CAEC President and CEO Tom Stackhouse. “We are honored to provide assistance to our educators who work persistently to impact all students by providing them the tools they need to be successful as well as instilling in them the desire for a lifetime of learning. You all are heroes, and we are incredibly thankful to be able to award these funds to you.” 

To date, CAEC has awarded $376,000 to local schools through the program, benefiting more than 130,000 students across all grade levels and content areas. The application process for 2025 Bright Ideas Grants will begin this September.

The 2024 recipients are:

Autauga County: Kathy Hall and Ashtin Boswell of Daniel Pratt Elementary School; Dana O’Brian of Marbury Middle School; Dana Hassell, Kristal Martin and Amy Milam of Pine Level Elementary; Michael Ann Amison and Traci McGee of Prattville High School; and Debbie Langham of Prattville Primary School.

Chilton County: Hollie Colburn of Chilton County High School; Julie Harrison of Clanton Elementary School; Haley Lively of Clanton Intermediate School; JoAnna Jones, Regina Smitherman, Amanda Sosa, Thomas McCall, Josh Holt and Chris Turner of Isabella High School; Patricia Turner and Justin Brock of Maplesville High School; and Jo Ann Summers of Verbena High School.

Coosa County: Jacques Mitchell and Mary White of Central High School.

Elmore County: Kimberly Kirkland of Coosada Elementary; Amy Colquitt, Lori Higgins, Michael Miller, Perry Caton and Denise Young of Elmore County Technical Center; Liz Johnson of Holtville Middle School; Allison Gardino, Rhiannon Allison and Lindsey Duncan of Prattville Christian Academy; and Shannon Hughes and Kristy Shaw of Wetumpka Elementary School. Talladega County: Bonnie Branyon, Lindsey Foster and Kellie Tinnell of Childersburg Elementary School; Mary Ella Pearson and Deborah Gover of CL Salter Elementary; and Emily Clifton and Kelli Howard of Munford Elementary.