Brownieland Behind the Scenes featuring Teach On Project in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Month

For our May Brownieland Behind the Scenes, we are featuring Teach On Project (TOP) in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Month! 

Teach On Project (TOP) is a metro Atlanta nonprofit with a mission to make a positive impact on student success by investing in, energizing, and retaining excellent educators. TOP believes that through recognition, empowerment, and financial support, excellent educators can multiply the impact of their efforts and elevate the quality of public education in metro Atlanta. The work that TOP winners are able to do, positively impacts the lives of thousands of children each year.

TOP’s merit-based awards program has a rigorous application process designed to identify educators who demonstrate increases in student achievement, enhance student self-esteem, and collaborate with community stakeholders. Nominees are asked to outline a project they would like funded to help them make a more significant impact in their classrooms or schools. All awarded projects must be strategically designed to positively impact student achievement, self-esteem, and collaboration. Winners receive $1,500 for professional development of their choosing, $2,500 as a personal stipend, and $3,500 to implement an innovative project. Winners join TOP’s Teacher Leader Collective program giving them opportunities to expand their impact on students, schools, and communities.

Brownieland has partnered with Teach On Project for almost a decade now. We are honored to work with an organization that provides resources, grant funding, and support for metro Atlanta public school teachers and leaders. Every year, we are excited as Fall rolls around because it means we get the chance to work with TOP as they award amazing educators throughout metro Atlanta. 

Kathie Michaels, Co-founder and Director of Teach On Project, had this to say about our partnership over the years:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of TOP, we’re incredibly grateful to Brownieland for capturing our history on film. Having the last 10 years of our work memorialized in such an artful way has been a blessing beyond what we even imagined when we first started working together. Their professional ability to tell the stories of our past winners at the time and to future audiences is the most powerful way to market our mission.

When we first began working with Teach On Project, the organization went by its former name, Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education (AFAEE), and recognized educators only in the Atlanta Public School District. However, in 2015, AFAEE expanded its impact to include five districts in metro Atlanta: Atlanta Public Schools, Cobb County Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Fulton County Schools, and Gwinnett County Public Schools. 

Photo taken after Brownieland visited 10 schools in 2 days traveling 280 miles to help Teach On Project honor 10 fantastic teachers!

Check out this video Brownieland produced in partnership with AFAEE featuring 2015 winner Katherine Kelbaugh, founding elementary and middle school principal of The Museum School and one of ten winners of the 2015 award honoring Atlanta’s outstanding educators. 

Since then, the awards have continued to grow, and now we travel around the metro Atlanta area capturing outstanding educators and administrators in action. From creating a Kindle lending library in a school that had no books available to its students to cultivating a rooftop garden from which produce is sold and entrepreneurial skills are taught, the teachers and principals who win these awards are the best of the best. Watch the videos we created in collaboration with AFAEE featuring some of the 2016 TOP award winners!

Learn more about Mini’imah Shaheed, Principal of KIPP STRIVE Primary School in Atlanta Public Schools, and her project: Entrepreneurial Farmers Market.

Learn more about Nancy Janas, physical education teacher at Mountain View Elementary, and her project: Fitness Circuit Stations. 

In 2017, AFAEE asked Brownieland back for another year of honoring local educators and the fantastic work they are doing for children. After a rigorous application, interview, and observation process, the nominees are selected and then honored each year in a special ceremony. Brownieland produced this video in collaboration with AFAEE to showcase their dedication and commitment to all of metro Atlanta’s children. Watch this video to learn about the AFAEE 2017 Winners!

Once again, in 2018, Brownieland partnered with Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education (AFAEE) for another year of recognizing educators for their outstanding contributions to the classroom and awarding them stipends for projects they have created to enhance the lives of their students.

Brownieland behind the scenes filming 2018 AFAEE winner Claudia Fitzwater, Spanish/Robotics teacher at Drew Charter School, talking about her project: Interactive Fiction (IF) – Gamification of Storytelling.

We had the opportunity to meet seven of the best and brightest educators that Georgia has to offer and tell their stories, featured in this video!

By 2019, Brownieland had collaborated with Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education showcasing almost 50 winning educators over the years. Furthermore, AFAEE changed its name to Teach On Project (TOP). The new name recaptures who they have always been: an organization dedicated to retaining the best educators in metro Atlanta’s public schools. Even though the name changed, what remains is this incredible organization’s mission to elevate the quality of public education by identifying excellent educators and empowering them to expand their impact. 

Benteen Elementary School Principal, Dr. Andrew Lovett was a 2019 TOP grantee. His project, Building Brilliant Biliterate Readers, is designed to help create access for Spanish-speaking students and their families. Having volunteer biliterate readers visit his students and read books in both Spanish and English encourages parents to become involved while helping to grow students’ vocabularies in multiple languages. Learn more about Dr. Lovett in this video we produced in partnership with Teach On Project!

Recently, Brownieland had the opportunity to catch up with seven past TOP winners and find out how the awards have changed their lives. Watch the video we produced in partnership with Teach On Project to discover why we all need to celebrate educators for their extraordinary contributions to our children and communities!

At Brownieland Pictures, our mission is to empower nonprofits by expanding their reach and engaging communities through stories that inspire and motivate. We are grateful for the nonprofits who make a difference in our communities every day, and we are honored to partner with some incredible Atlanta organizations. With this in mind, each month in 2021, we will showcase the work of a nonprofit organization with whom we are partners and go behind the scenes to share their story for the greater good!

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