Teacherpreneur: Supporting Teachers with Big Ideas for Education

There's only one weekend left before the school year begins for Hamilton County teachers. Just 48 hours to spend with family, put the finishing touches on school-year preparation, or squeeze in one last trip before a busy year kick off.

But over 40 Hamilton County teachers will spend their last weekend doing something completely different and completely Chattanooga. PEF, Benwood and the Hamilton County Department of Education in collaboration with CO.LAB will host the first Teacherpreneur 48Hour Launch on August 1-3. The Hamilton County teachers and their teams will gather during the weekend at Society of Work to develop short pitches for their innovative education ideas. 

The culminating Teacherpreneur 48Hour Launch Pitch Event, which will showcase these innovative pitches, will be Sunday, August 3 at 4 p.m. ET at Church on Main (1601 Rossville Ave). A group of judges will award funding and resources to many of the teachers with ideas that are innovative, impactful and feasible.

The Teacherpreneur Incubator is designed to provide support, time and space for teachers to incubate big ideas and execute them in the best interests of both their students, their profession and our community.  Too often teachers who want to be leaders feel like they only have one choice – go into school administration and leave the classroom behind. In this first-of-its-kind Incubator, motivated teachers will expand their reach beyond the classroom by leading a change in their school and the community.

After submitting innovative proposals early in the summer, over 20 teachers were selected to participate in the Teacherpreneur  Incubator. These teachers met multiple times throughout the summer to prepare for the 48HR Launch weekend.

No two ideas are exactly alike. They range from  a kite-based math and science curriculum to a MakerSpace in a school library to innovative apps. The teachers and their teams – made up of mentors from local businesses, community members and fellow teachers – will spend all weekend honing their pitches before Sunday evening’s pitch night. During the weekend, workshops will be held on public speaking, budgeting, starting a business, and more.

Teachers will receive some funding but, more importantly, they will also be paired with a team of community members and local experts to help them get their ideas off the ground. These teacher leaders are cultivating authentic ties to the community to create deeper learning opportunities for their students. They are taking advantage of Chattanooga’s unique technology tools and resources to personalize learning and share their experiences with others.

Entrepreneurs transform challenges into business opportunities. Teacherpreneurs will do the same for our schools. If you are interested in getting involved by mentoring, joining a team, supporting the 48Hour Launch weekend, please contact Keri Randolph at krandolph@pefchattanooga.org or 423-668-2426.  To support the teacherpreneurs by attending the 48HR Launch Pitch Night on Sunday at 4 p.m., please sign up at: 48hrteach.eventbrite.com.

Lauren Deason is the STEM Program Associate at PEF

“In this first-of-its-kind Incubator, motivated teachers will expand their reach beyond the classroom by leading a change in their school and the community.”