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Helena educators presented with grant checks and awards

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The Helena Education Foundation this week presented $15,000 in grants and honored six educators with awards for making an impact in the lives of their students. 

According to executive director of HEF, Lisa Cordingley, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes to many of HEF's programs, including the presentation of these awards and grants. 

"This includes the custom of surprising educators with an entourage of board members, donors and friends to present grants and other awards," Cordingley said, in a press release. "There was no entourage, but on Thursday, Nov. 4, Helena Public Schools superintendent Rex Weltz and myself visited 15 educators to present grant checks and Let's Talk about Great Teachers awards."

The winners of the Let's Talk About Great Teachers Awards were Helena High School's Shannin Preshinger, CR Anderson's Susan Graham, Warren Elementary School's Brice Burton, Four Georgians Elementary's Jody Branting, Helena Middle School's Amy Friez and Helena Middle School's Dawn Rolling.

According to Cordingley, Friez also received a grant from HEF to fund a learning commons at HMS. 

The Let's Talk About Great Teachers awards go to teachers who build strong, lasting relationships with their students. Cordingley described it as the kind of teachers who "attend their students' ball games and ballets." Cordingley said the honorees are the ones who go the extra mile for their students and their colleagues, building a sense of community in their classrooms while setting high expectations.

Grants presented by HEF vary in scale from the $500 Spark Grant to the $5,000 Great Ideas Grant. Successful proposals include projects such as furnishing a learning commons at HMS, purchasing equipment to teach abstract biology concepts to students at Capital High School and starting up a book club at Smith Elementary.

HEF has worked to enrich the public education system in the Helena area for the past 20 years. It hosts well-known programs like Great Conversations and gives out many grants like the Great Ideas Grant each year.

For more information, or to register for Great Conversations, Nov. 17, visit


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