Bright Ideas Education Grants

Bright Ideas Education Grants - Light bulb graphic

At Piedmont Electric Cooperative, one of the ways we show our commitment to community is through our Bright Ideas education grant program.  This program helps local educators bring their innovative class projects to life by applying for grants of up to $2,000. Since 1994, we’ve awarded local teachers, principals and school counselors more than $600,000 in Bright Ideas grants that have touched the lives of thousands of students.

Creative past projects have included socially distanced drumming for PE; color coded tool carts to encourage tool maintenance and organization; and supplies to study photosynthesis and soil quality outdoors!

Dates for the 2024-2025 School Year

  • Application opens: April 1
  • Early bird deadline: Aug. 15
  • Final deadline: Sept. 2, 2024
  • Winners announced: October 2024

Visit to learn more about the program and apply for grants.  

Photos from Bright Ideas Projects

Bright Ideas Grant - On a Roll

Bright Ideas Grant – On a Roll

Bright Ideas Grant - ABC - 123 - C.O.D.E.

Bright Ideas Grant – ABC – 123 – C.O.D.E.

Bright Ideas Grant - Ozobots Assemble

Bright Ideas Grant – Ozobots Assemble

Bright Ideas Grant – Masterful Makers

Bright Ideas Grant – Discovering the Joy of Writing

Bright Ideas Grant – Drums Alive!

Past Bright Ideas Winners

Piedmont Electric’s Bright Ideas Grant Recipients 2022

Applicant Name County Grant Title School
Abigail Dufretay-Stepanek Orange County Coffee Talk Grady Brown Elementary
Amanda Haney Caswell County Cardinals Gaining their Wings: Social and Emotional Learning at Oakwood Oakwood Elementary
Bailey Normann Orange County True Book Fair Ephesus Road Elementary
Beth M Bell Alamance-Burlington Interior Design: Design Thinking with Technology Eastern Alamance High
Cheri Thomas Orange County Dancing Our Way Around the Globe! Efland Cheeks Elementary
Colin Tapp Durham County Jazz for Expression: Innovative Technology for Middle School Musicians Brogden Middle
David A Jones Person County If they build it, they will get it. Person High School
Demikia Taylor Durham County NHS Sustainable Agriculture Project Northern High
Elizabeth Sinnott Person County 5th Grade Creation Stations (MakerSpace) South Elementary
Jackie Priestaf Person County Interactive Read Alouds North Elementary – Roxboro
Jaclyn TenEyck Person County STEAM Bins Bethel Hill Charter
Janice Castle Caswell County Panda News for You North Elementary – Providence
Jasmine Johnson Orange County LEAPing into New Realities with CoSpaces! Mary Scroggs Elementary
Jessie Malloy Orange County Orange Middle School After School Competitive Robotics Club Orange Middle
Julia Fair Caswell County Fill North with Pride North Elementary – Providence
Kara Morgan Person County Chicken Club South Elementary
Katie Louhoff Caswell County Seating for You and You and You…. North Elementary – Providence
Kim Solomon Person County Help us get “FIRED UP!” Oak Lane Elementary
Kristie Mabry Orange County Herstory, History and STEM A L Stanback Middle
Kristin Hernandez Person County Art & Agriculture Outdoor classroom South Elementary
Natalia Johns Orange County Decodable Books for Young Readers Grady Brown Elementary
Patrick Mitchell Orange County Upgrade our Robotics Program River Park Elementary
Randi Michelle Reed Orange County Modern Social Injustices, Females Too Cedar Ridge High School
Richard “Coach” Hughes Person County The Adventures of Captain Laker and the Hula Huts from the 3rd Dimension Woodland Elementary
Robin Smith Leissner Orange County BEE-coming Coders With Bee-Bots! Pathways Elementary
Shawn Shoptaw Alamance-Burlington Autonomous First Responder Drone Career and Technical Education School
Shelly Nance Person County Music unites people! Help music be a messenger. Northern Middle
Stephanie Hopper Person County Interactive Zoo Adventure South Elementary
Terri Gullick Caswell County Panthers Read 30 Stoney Creek Elementary
Whitney Williams Orange County Outdoor Classroom Grady Brown Elementary

Piedmont Electric’s Bright Ideas Grant Recipients 2021

Applicant Name County Subject School
Kelly A. Poquette Alamance Movement, Music, and Friends! Alamance Virtual School
Rachel Yarbrough Alamance Flexible Seating Improves Learning Altamahaw Ossipee
Amanda Haney Caswell The Power of Biographies: Providing Mirrors and Opening Windows Oakwood Elementary
Brittini Macedo Caswell My Smartest Artists are KIL’N it! Stoney Creek Elementary
Carla Murray, Mauriah Smith Caswell Diversity for ALL! North Elementary – Providence
Julia Fair Caswell Handy Handbells North Elementary – Providence
Katie Louhoff, Mauriah Smith Caswell Storytelling for the Win! North Elementary – Providence
Kellie Smith Caswell Popping with Excitement to Learn North Elementary – Providence
Leslie W Gehris Caswell Hydroponics and Composter N.L. Dillard Middle School
Mauriah Smith Caswell Creative Coders! North Elementary – Providence
Ryan Moretz Caswell Everyone Gets a Heartrate Monitor! North Elementary – Providence
Abigail Thompson Durham Wet and Wild Water quality Northern High
Jennifer Ruth Scoggin, Tommy Johnson Durham Friends Beekeeper Project – Growing the Apiary Carolina Friends School
Jenny Bailey, Adam Davidson, Glenn Walters, Kim Bowers, Michelle Dennis Durham Potted Pirates: An OCS/EC & Engineering Student Collaboration Riverside High
Sarah Laughhunn, Bart Gonzalez, Eric Long, Jenny Bailey, Perry Tharrington Durham Riverside Coffee Bar Riverside High
Dasie Roberts, Maureen Bellissimo, Holly Carroll Granville Story Walkabout Stovall-Shaw Elementary
Becky Wilson Orange Goooood Morning, Bulldogs from WALS! A L Stanback Middle
Brett Stegall, Katie Moorehead Orange Carrboro High Amphitheater Carrboro High School
Christie Williams Orange Soft Start STEM Bins Grady Brown Elementary
Dianne Vetter Orange Teeing Off to Equity Glenwood Elementary
Kimberly Christian, Ashley Clark Orange Environmental Lit Justice: Using Novels in the Science Classroom A L Stanback Middle
Kristie R Mabry, Wyn Payton Orange Team work makes the Dream work! A L Stanback Middle
Patrick Mitchell, Tony Widder Orange Outdoor Classroom River Park Elementary
Robin Bulleri, Christina Augustine, Paula Dey Orange Synthesizing Science and Social Justice Carrboro High School
Selena Masse Orange Social Studies Extension Activities in Literacy and STEM Orange Middle
Amanda Bedo Person What a Year! Woodland Elementary
Ashley Bailey, Russell Fryczynski Person Hands on Minds on – Scientific Inquiry with modeling Roxboro Community School
Douglas Glenning Person The Learning Spike North End Elementary
Jennifer Innis Person Engineering is Incredibly Elementary Person County Virtual Academy
Jill Clayton Person Saving Lives Roxboro Community School
Lauren Pool Person “Diversity in sports, bringing a new beat” Northern Middle
Pamela M Parham Person Lego Science Person County Virtual Academy
Richard Hughes Person The Laker Drive-In  – An Adventure in Projected Physical Education Woodland Elementary

Piedmont Electric’s 2020 Bright Ideas winners are:

Applicant Name Grant Title School County
Emily Quadrio Design a Hydroponic System Career and Technical Education School Alamance
Laura Bivins Mind-Up! Altamahaw Ossipee Alamance
Paige Ysteboe Reading from Home: Ebooks for Kids Western Alamance Middle Alamance
Jennifer Tripp Gerringer Gardens: Literacy Circle Garrett Elementary Alamance
Mauriah Smith Sew, Sew, Sew Much Fun! North Elementary – Providence Caswell
Brittini Macedo Art Room Re-Boot- Let’s Get Creating! South Elementary Caswell
Amanda Haney Virtual Books for Virtual Learners! Oakwood Elementary Caswell
Ryan Moretz The Heart of PE North Elementary – Providence Caswell
Tya Tyrrell Creekside Community Garden Creekside Elementary Durham
Demikia Taylor Outdoor Animal Learning Project Northern High Durham
Tyler D’Angelo Enhancing STEM With Gel Electrophoresis George L. Carrington Middle Durham
Theresa M Torian Using Our Genius with Generation Genius Little River Elementary Durham
Jamie Turnage Spark Our Robotics Interest with Sphero Bolt Robots Hillsborough Elementary Orange
Natalia Johns Words Children’s Way Grady Brown Elementary Orange
Jeremy Wilson Tinkering with Arduinos Partnership Academy Alternative Orange
Patrick J Mitchell Real World Competitive Robotic Solutions Cameron Park Elementary Orange
Melissa R Barry Family Connections Book Club R.D. and Euzelle P. Smith Middle School Orange
Jenny Ainslie The Thinking Classroom with Wipebook A L Stanback Middle Orange
Lorena Gatlin Team Read Grey Culbreth Middle Orange
Wayne Wilson Send Out the Music Pathways Elementary Orange
Cecilia Milla Incorporating the Raspberry Pi Orange Senior High Orange
Dakarai Bryant Plants and Podcasting – Engaging learners through scientific inquiry Roxboro Community School Person
David Jones Friends don’t let friends borrow tools Person High Person
Ashley Knott Drums Alive! North End Elementary Person
Sheryl Atkinson Outdoor Classroom/Greenhouse Southern Middle Person
Heather Virtual classroom 360! Helena Elementary Person
Melisa Poindexter & Julie Goodwin Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Oak Lane Elementary Person
Christy Carver Scholastic Weekly Readers Helena Elementary Person
LaJeanne M Ashley All Eyes on Me Helena Elementary Person
Mequail Wilkerson Masks From Love Northern Middle Person
Elizabeth Sinnott Taking Take-Home Technology to the Next Level! South Elementary Person

Piedmont Electric’s 2019 Bright Ideas Winners are:

Grant Writer(s) Grant Name School County
Casey Thompson CGS Growing Minds Project Clover Garden Alamance
Kimberly J Griffis Discovering the Joy of Writing Eastlawn Elementary Alamance
Stacy B Noell Simulation Station Eastern Alamance Hi Alamance
Amanda Haney Making a Difference Oakwood Elementary Caswell
Mauriah Smith Masterful Makers North Elementary – Providence Caswell
Logan Webb, Julie Ross Escaping Ordinary Lessons with Breakout EDU Boxes Stoney Creek Elementary Caswell
Samantha Crews Readers for Reluctant Readers Stoney Creek Elementary Caswell
Sandra Goodwin, Matthew Jones, Amy Beebe ABC – 123 – C.O.D.E Mangum Elementary Durham
Cheryl Michalec Mobile Outdoor Classroom Sandy Ridge Visual and Performing Arts Elementary Durham
Lena Deskins Creating an Office of Innovation Sandy Ridge Visual and Performing Arts Elementary Durham
Douglas Price, Carrie Miller Community Garden Greenhouse Voyager Academy Durham
Joseph D Sharp, Julianne Mertz, Steve Kirby, Kimberly Clark, Alex Petercuskie Archaeological Excavation Lab Expansion A L Stanback Middle Orange
Melissa Barnhouse We Like Big Books and We Can Not Lie A L Stanback Middle Orange
Jenni Scoggin, Abby Kennedy Friends Beekeeper Project – Part 2 Carolina Friends School Orange
Michelle Reed, Christina Clark, Kelly Monroe-Porvo No More Boring Books!: Book Clubs for Compassion and Real Life Heroes and The Search For Compassion Cedar Ridge High School Orange
Selena L Masse Making Historical Connections by Infusing STEM and Literacy in Social Studies Charles Stanford Middle Orange
Lindsey Halas, Nick Winstead, Tyson Hallet, Jamie East, Jeannie Pfautz Connecting Readers and Writers Across State Lines East Chapel Hill High Orange
Christie Williams Help Save Our Seas Grady Brown Elementary Orange
Jennifer Carson, Anthony Folden, Kelly Lazarus, Whitney Williams, Ashlie Hobson, Shannon Floyd, Teresa Touchette Picture-Perfect Science and STEM Grady Brown Elementary Orange
Kelly Lazarus The Power of STEAM Play in Academics Grady Brown Elementary Orange
Jillian Grimm Harness the Energy Guy Phillips Middle School Orange
Andrea Perrone Drumming up a Global Perspective New Hope Elementary Orange
Cassidy Milosh Cooking Up Some Confidence New Hope Elementary Orange
Cheryl Mitchell Math through Robotics New Hope Elementary Orange
Holli Wallace, Abby Kennedy Blast Off Sensory Path! New Hope Elementary Orange
Laura Holmes, Lauren Maher Exceptional Espresso Coffee Cart!! Orange Senior High Orange
Sarah S. Wilson Google Jamboard for World Language Orange Senior High Orange
Kelly Sears, Katie Williams, Regina Baratta Exploring Science with Virtual Tours R.D. and Euzelle P. Smith Middle School Orange
Susan Hess Drawing Challenge for Youth Art Month Helena Elementary Person
Shelly Nance Uniting students with music! Northern Middle Person
Julie Goodwin Guided Instruction to Guide Tomorrow’s Leaders Oak Lane Elementary Person
David B Jones HOOKED-UP 4 SAFETY Person High Person
Ashley M Bailey Building Proteins, Engaging Learners Roxboro Community School Person
Tabitha Faulkner Comfort While Composing Stories Creek Elementary Person
Amanda Bedo Ozobots Assemble Woodland Elementary Person
Jennifer Davis, Angie Hungate Extra, Extra, Read All About It! Woodland Elementary Person
Richard Hughes Moving with Makey Makey – An Adventure in Inventing in Physical Education Woodland Elementary Person
Sabrina Crumpton Simply Reading Woodland Elementary Person

2018 Bright Ideas Education Grant Winners:

Contact Name

Grant Name


# of Students Impacted

 Amount Awarded

Amanda Haney On a Roll Oakwood Elementary 180  $1,799.99
Angel Fox Brain, Body and Hearts Alive! Helena Elementary 24  $375.00
Ashley Bailey Modeling our cells, sharpening our minds! Roxboro Community School 100  $1,000.00
David Jones Heads Up Display Person High 120  $1,332.72
Elen Wilkinson Mini-Makerspace A.L. Stanback Middle 100  $751.39
Elizabeth Sinnott Manipulating Movement: A PBL To Teach Force and Motion South Elementary 50  $1,358.81
Partnership Academy Alternative Trout in the Classroom Partnership Academy Alternative 45  $1,260.00
Heather F Bowes Energized Coding A.L. Stanback Middle 110  $1,369.90
Heather Rogers Growing Learners North End Elementary 35  $1,951.29
Henry Walker Energy Made Real Carolina Friends School 450  $2,000.00
Jenni Scoggin Friends Beekeeper Project Carolina Friends School 260  $1,315.94
Karen Clark A Light On Our Path – Energy Awareness Project Immaculata Catholic 532  $1,500.00
Kelly Sears and Cara Parsons Citizen Scientists Unite! R.D. and Euzelle P. Smith Middle School 289  $1,559.30
Kimberly Clark Micro Curiosities A.L. Stanback Middle 650  $379.05
Kimberly Griffis Children as Authors Eastlawn Elementary 35  $810.00
Kristie  Mabry Mission- Makerspace! A.L. Stanback Middle 660  $1,844.00
Kristy Horner “WeDo” STEAM Bethel Hill Charter 394  $1,899.50
Lena Deskins Increasing Campus Biodiversity with Citizen Science Sandy Ridge Visual and Performing Arts Elementary 320  $1,984.00
Lisa Volaric Inquiry Driven Experimentation in Core Science Classes Cedar Ridge High School 600  $2,000.00
Lorelei Soli Calcs for Class Roxboro Community School 400  $1,000.00
Marsha Absher Reading Wow Factor A.L. Stanback Middle 105  $300.00
Meredith Stephens Producing a Legacy Orange Senior High 1300  $2,000.00
Michael Lester Weather Station for GHMS Gravelly Hill Middle 157  $1,489.75
Michelle Sondles Virtual Reality Trip to Space Hawfields Middle School 225  $1,979.84
Micki Powell Let’s Get It Started Person Early College for Innovation & Leadership 150  $1,954.80
Nancy Huskins Nature Nomads A.L. Stanback Middle 100  $1,925.15
Natalia Johns Reading on Wheels Grady Brown Elementary 60  $545.00
Patrick Mitchell AMP It Up!! Cameron Park Elementary 620  $1,685.98
Richard Hughes “Hole in Fun” Woodland Elementary 300  $1,942.80
Taylor Bryant Phoenix Academy Engineering Club Phoenix Academy High School 40  $1,752.40
Teresa Perkins Learning Life Lessons With a Buddy Stoney Creek Elementary 45  $1,500.00
Thomas Fisler Sun’s Energy in the Garden A.L. Stanback Middle 250  $1,143.00
Tina Mansfield Energized about Science Morris Grove Elementary 85  $1,906.88
Valerie Smith Beginning Band Bonus Southern Middle 5  $2,000.00

Piedmont Electric 2017 Bright Ideas Winners

Contact Name County Grant Name School
Tiffany Ehmig Alamance Hydroponic Community Garden Blessed Sacrament School
Mauriah Smith Caswell Wiggle While You Work North Elementary – Providence
Teresa Perkins Caswell A Habitat for Learning Stoney Creek Elementary
Lena Deskins Durham Citizen Science Sandy Ridge Visual and Performing Arts Elementary
Bobbie Lequire Durham Rube Goldberg Wantabees Club Blvd Elementary
Justin Finger Durham Jordan Rocketry Mars Rover C E Jordan High
Michael Bonsignore Durham chickens in the Lower School Carolina Friends School
Tamara Barabasz Durham Engineering in the Easley MakerSpace STEM Lab Easley Elementary
Heather Daniel Granville Are you Sure It’s Alive?  It’s Not Breathing; Where’s its Mouth? Joe Toler-Oak Hill
Geoffrey Bowman Orange Expanding the use of probe-ware in Orange High science classes Orange Senior High
Laura Holmes Orange High Schoolers AT-AAC Life Orange Senior High
Margaret Plambeck Orange Desperate Journeys: Finding Refuge in Novels A L Stanback Middle
Melissa Barnhouse Orange The Power of Mindfulness and Movement for Learning A L Stanback Middle
Joseph Sharp Orange Mock Archaeological Dig A L Stanback Middle
Beverly Jones Orange Learning Language and Loving It! A L Stanback Middle
Wesley D. Barnhouse Orange The History, Culture and Application of Block Printing A L Stanback Middle
Melissa Barry Orange How Does Our Garden Grow Carrboro High School
Celine Stinnett Orange Keeping Math and Body Fit Cameron Park Elementary
Amy White Orange Sphero Chariots Fight the Force of Friction Grady Brown Elementary
Kelly Jones Lazarus Orange STEM Games Make Students STARS! Grady Brown Elementary
Nancy Cheek Orange Creating My Own Home Library New Hope Elementary
Theresa Torian Person Future Meteorologists Helena Elementary
Kelly Pearce Person Bringing the Outside In North Elementary – Roxboro
Richard Hughes Person Let’s Move and Bang on Our Drum All Day Woodland Elementary
Rachel Yarbrough Person Flexible Seating Improves Learning Oak Lane Elementary
Blakely Lord Person SHAKESPEARIENCE! Person High School
Ashley Bailey Person Creating Savvy Student Scientists Roxboro Community School
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