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MEF Surprises MISD Educators with $115,000 in Classroom Grants During Annual Holiday Delivery

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
  • Walker Elementary Media Resource Specialist Cindi Bolton celebrates with students after receiving a McKinney Education Foundation grant for interactive books on Friday, Dec. 3.
  • McKinney North High School Science Instructional Coach and Department Chair Julia McCollom received an MEF grant for physics equipment.
  • MISD Board member Lynn Sperry (far left) and DAEP Principal Kyle Luthi (far right) present an MEF grant for P.E. equipment to DAEP teacher Tracy Linnebur.

McKinney, Texas – On Friday, Dec. 3, a dismally cloudy morning couldn’t dampen the sunny disposition at Audi McKinney as a cavalcade of cars rolled out of the parking lot and fanned out across the city to deliver McKinney Education Foundation (MEF) grants to McKinney ISD educators.

Onboard were MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine, MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel, members of the MISD Board of Trustees, MEF Board members and representatives from Audi McKinney (who provided the cars and the drivers).

large group gathered in front of two Audi cars at Audi Mckinney

Audi McKinney hosted the MEF grant delivery effort once again this year, providing cars and drivers as MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine (center left) and MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel (center right) were joined by representatives from MISD, the MISD Board and MEF in surprising educators across the district with grant awards totaling $115,000.

They popped into offices and classrooms, surprising 34 delighted educators across the district, who represented all 20 MISD elementary schools, Lawson Early Childhood School, Faubion Middle School, Cockrill Middle School, McKinney North High School, DAEP, Central Office and the Greer Annex offices.

“The McKinney Education Foundation is excited to see our grants in action as early as next semester,” said Sine. “Our largest support for our grant program comes directly from McKinney ISD teachers and staff. In addition to McKinney ISD teachers and staff support, MEF holds five endowments supporting our grant program: CoServ, Sunrise Rotary Club of McKinney, Froese Family, David Freeman Memorial, and Tom Crowe Honorarium. We cannot thank our donors enough for making our grants happen every year. At MEF, we believe our grant program is an investment in teachers, students and our community.”

Sine smiling with Jones while holding check

MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine smiles as she presents an MEF grant to McNeil Elementary Counselor Dawn Jones.

MEF began the classroom and teacher grant program in 1994 with a single grant of $250. Since then, the organization, which also provides a multitude of college scholarships for MISD graduating seniors, has awarded some $1,260,605 in classroom and teacher grants. MISD educators apply for the grants each year to fund learning projects and supplies that they want to use in their classrooms. The grant amounts are as varied as the projects themselves and can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.

This year, MEF awarded its largest ever classroom/teacher grant for just over $38,000 to MISD Reading Academy Cohort Lead Heather Rodriguez who, with help from Alejandra Knott, submitted a grant application to fund “Decodables,” an early reading resource that will benefit every MISD kindergarten and first grade student.

Sine with hand on shoulder of Rodriguez as Rodriguez looks emotional

McKinney ISD Reading Academy Lead Heather Rodriguez is overcome with emotion as MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine surprises her with a grant for more than $38,000, the largest MEF classroom grant to date. The grant will impact kindergarten and first grade reading instruction at every elementary campus in the district.

“A huge part of our Reading Academy initiative is to work with early childhood readers and give them the best instruction at the ground level,” Rodriguez said. “A key part of that is having decodable readers, which are basically an opportunity for kids to take what they’ve learned … and apply it in a real-world situation with an actual book. So, we want to build lifelong readers, and it is really important that they have a book in their hand. That’s what this grant allows me to do.”

MISD Elementary Math Coordinator Ashley Cruz received a $17,000 grant to continue Mission Math tutoring for elementary students. Cruz said that, due to a major reduction in state funding for materials, the MEF grant money couldn’t have come at a better time.

Ashley Cruz and Ashley Sine smiling holding check

MEF Board member Kip Dixon and MEF Administrative Assistant Sharon Cox look on as MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine presents a grant for more than $17,000 to MISD Elementary Math Coordinator Ashley Cruz. The grant will impact math tutoring across the district.

“This is for our students and our teachers,” said Cruz. “It’s for all K–5th grade math teachers, which is about 600 teachers and thousands of students, and they’re using this for tutoring that is required by the state right now for all 4th and 5th grade. So, we’re giving kids what they need, which makes me feel good at the end of the day—because that’s what it’s all about.”

As they wrapped up their deliveries, McDaniel said, “Every year there are certain days that I look forward to, and this is one of them. It’s so gratifying to see teachers’ faces light up when we walk in the room to present them with these grants. I know that they will use this money to enhance what they are trying to accomplish in their classes, and I’m proud of their efforts. I’m extremely pleased that they went through the application process and were chosen to receive these generous grant funds.”

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