Teacher Gains Grant for Young Author’s Conference

Southern Local Elementary teacher Tonyea Kellison is instilling creativity among students in her school and a recent windfall will help procure plans to inspire young writers.


   Kellison, who instructs technology at SLES, received a $250 teacher’s grant from the Columbiana County Retired Teachers Association to conduct a Young Authors Conference this spring. The program includes a visit from a published author who will meet with students and advise them on ways to bring their imagination to life.


   “I had written this grant because we had a Young Author’s Conference and I’d like to bring it back,” she said during a recent school board meeting. “I’d like to bring it back on a lower scale.”


   Last April, SLES hosted Tricia Springstubb, a Cleveland-based author who has published more than 20 children’s books during her career. Springstubb conducted exercises and a question-and-answer segment, plus she visited classrooms where students shared stories they wrote, illustrated and published and each pupil received a signed copy of one of her works. The program is based on a similar event conducted across the county and the school decided to have an event of its own. Kellison’s previous project was funded by a Best Practices Grant she received through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and the goal was to encourage literacy. Meanwhile, she planned to contact another author to potentially conduct a daylong workshop with first-to-third-grade students in the spring.


   “We’re going to have students write books and publish them,” she said. “They can share their stories with the author and we’ll do a workshop on bookmaking and being excited about books.”


    Southern Local Superintendent Tom Cunningham commended Kellison for her work in obtaining the funds and coordinating the project.


   “Mrs. Kellison did a great job,” Cunningham said.