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Great Schools Partnership to Fund "TeacherPreneur" Grant Program

New initiative aims to promote creative solutions in classroom instruction
with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


The Great Schools Partnership announced today the launch of its 2015 TeacherPreneur grant program. The TeacherPreneur grant program invites Knox County teachers to be creative problem solvers by developing new instructional ideas to improve student learning.  The most promising ideas are then funded in a pilot setting with the results carefully monitored and measured.  Successful ideas can then be scaled up.  The TeacherPreneur program is a joint project of the Great Schools Partnership and Knox County Schools Office of Innovation. The program just received a $85,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Great Schools President Buzz Thomas said, “Teachers are our greatest instructional experts.  The Great Schools Partnership, Gates Foundation and Knox County Schools recognize this and are looking for Knoxville’s best TeacherPreneurs.  Entrepreneurs develop successful new business strategies.  TeacherPreneurs develop successful new instructional strategies.


The Knox County schools’ strategic plan envisions classrooms as “innovation labs” where teachers develop, organize, store and share new ideas for teaching.  This new grant program enables that. We are thrilled that the Gates Foundation wants to help us tap into the expertise of our teachers with this generous grant.  I’m especially pleased, because this is a program that both our county mayor and our superintendent strongly support.” 


“The mission of the Knox County Schools Office of Innovation is to be bold and brave in our approach to problem solving.  The TeacherPreneur program allows teachers to live out that mission in their practice,” said Executive Director Daphne Odom.

Knox County Teachers interested in applying can register online at, email an electronic copy of your proposal to or send three hard copies to Buzz Thomas at the Great Schools Partnership - 912 South Gay Street, L-210, Knoxville, TN 37902. The deadline for submitting TeacherPreneur proposals is November 30.  Winners will be announced before the holidays. 


Media Contacts:
Buzz Thomas, President of Great Schools Partnership, (865/215-4505) or
Daphne Odom, Knox County Schools Magnet Supervisor, (856/386-3963) or


For more information about TeacherPreneur Grant Program or Great Schools please call 865.215.4501 or visit our website at