At M.C. Riley Elementary School, Principal Melissa Holland, left, and Assistant Principal Sam Ford, right, celebrate with grant winners Jill Exley, Summer Tucker and Melissa Murray. COURTESY FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE

The Foundation for Educational Excellence awarded 20 Innovative Teacher Grants and four School Resource Grants in November to teachers from 15 schools across Beaufort County. The grants, totaling more than $29,000, were awarded to teachers and schools for innovative learning opportunities and projects that go beyond the regular school district budget. 

“The Foundation is thrilled that this year’s grants will provide individual learning opportunities for almost 5,000 Beaufort County students,” said Michel Claudio, Innovative Grants chair and Foundation board member. 

Projects funded by the Foundation this year range from purchasing materials for sensory bins for early education learners to building pickleball courts for middle schoolers and providing funds for a printmaking press for high school students.

Pritchardville Elementary School teacher Nancy Frigon received a grant for her project “Let’s Code with Micro:bits.” The funds will go towards the purchase of Micro:bits, credit card-sized computers that integrate both hardware and software. Using these Micro:bits, students will be able to code a tool like a thermometer or barometer that can be used to determine the current weather conditions. 

Other Bluffton teachers who won grants are: Bree Lauffer, Okatie Elementary, It’s Electrifying; Summer Tucker, M.C. Riley Elementary, Increasing Vocabulary through Sensory Bin Exploration; Jill Exley, M.C. Riley Elementary, Let’s Give ’Em Something to Talk About; Lizabeth Webber, Okatie Elementary, It’s Never Too Early to Teach Computer Science; Melissa Murray, M.C. Riley Early Childhood, Building Confident Readers; and Blake Bishop, River Ridge Academy, Pickle Ball for Middle School.

“The Foundation’s Board loves to see the impact that these projects have on the future generations in our community through the initiative and creativity of these amazing teachers,” said Lisa Carroll, Foundation Board Chair. “It is our honor to be able to make projects possible through the funding of these grants.”

The Foundation for Educational Excellence raises funds to support the mission and goals of the Beaufort County School District by furthering student instructional activities and projects through Innovative Teacher Grants, Innovative School Resource Grants and Student Enrichment Grants.

For information, contact the Foundation at, call 843-304-1922, or email