The Magnolia Education Foundation, launched in 2001, underwent a rebranding two years ago to draw more attention to its purpose, creating an executive board and a new logo, Magnolia ISD Director of Communications Denise Meyers said.
Former MISD trustee Deborah Rose Miller, current state Rep. Cecil Bell Jr., R-Magnolia, and Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley founded the MEF to help fund innovative projects in the classroom that fall outside of the school district budget, Meyers said.
“It had gotten to a point where [the MEF]just needed a reboot. People weren’t engaging with [the]MEF the way they could have,” Meyers said. “[The new board] has done an excellent job in creating excitement. It’s made a huge difference in the amount of donations received [and]grants awarded and in engagement.”
The MEF raises money for teacher grants, student scholarships and its endowment through events—such as a golf tournament, a gala, a sporting clays tournament and the Star Educator Program—President Dacia Owens said.
Star Educator was launched in the 2018-19 school year. Parents or students can pay a minimum donation of $20 to recognize teachers who make a difference, said Becky Allbritton, MEF vice president and Star Educator chair. The teacher receives a star pin and a certificate, she said. The MEF have recognized 66 teachers this school year.
“We had people who had already graduated nominating teachers because our educators are just so amazing,” Allbritton said. “It was super successful in its first year, and it’s just going to continue to grow.”
The MEF awarded 13 grants to teachers for projects at nine campuses in the 2017-18 school year and 18 grants to teachers at 11 campuses this year, totaling more than $38,000 and $53,000, respectively, Owens said. Grant proposals have included piano labs, classroom libraries and small gardens, she said.
“The teachers work so hard at what they do, and there are a lot of projects they would love to do but they don’t have the funds,” she said. “When we announce the grant winners, and the teachers start crying, it kind of brings it home to why we do what we do.”