Total of $150,000 in Classroom Grants Awarded to 60 Teachers Across America to Drive Positive Change in Nation's Classrooms
First Round Winners of National Thank America's Teachers Initiative Announced by Farmers Insurance

LOS ANGELES, April 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Farmers Insurance, one of the nation's largest multiline insurers, announced the first round of 60 winning teachers of its Thank America's Teachers $2,500 educational grant program. Farmers, inspired by the great work done by teachers every day, created the Thank America's Teachers initiative, to say thank you to teachers and give away more than $1,000,000 in educational grants in 2015.

Launched at the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, California, with the help of PGA TOUR players Rickie Fowler and Charley Hoffman, Thank America's Teachers features an iconic yellow school bus that is traveling coast-to-coast delivering opportunities to say thank you to teachers who give their time, talent and knowledge to ensure that our nation's children become smarter and better prepared for the future.

Through Thank America's Teachers, Farmers will give away more than $1,000,000 to educators in 2015 and the public will help determine who receives the grants at Farmers will award 180 grants valued at $2,500 throughout the year. There will be a total of three rounds of 60 winners announced and teachers are urged to submit proposals for the final two rounds. In addition, six Dream Big Teacher Challenge grants of $100,000 each will be awarded to help support innovative educational programs in communities across the country.

"The 60 teachers receiving these Thank America's Teachers classroom grants exemplify the types of positive and dedicated educators that make lasting impressions on the lives of students across the country," said Kelly LaMar, managing lead of Thank America's Teachers at Farmers Insurance. "Farmers is proud to be able to provide these teachers with the funds necessary to help advance education in their classrooms."

Whether online at or at stops in communities across the country, if a person has the email address of the teacher they wish to thank, their thank you will be delivered to that teacher in the form of an electronic postcard. It's a simple and fun way to let teachers know of the difference they make or made in the lives of their students.

Ways the public can join the effort to Thank America's Teachers:

Among the grant winners:

  • Lanan Kendall teaches at Grace Brethren Elementary School in Simi Valley, California. She plans to purchase equipment to help develop a curriculum to teach students about viable options for cultivating a sustainable garden. The overall goal is to help her school establish an on-going seasonal garden that will lend a variety of opportunities for students to learn about science, social studies, math, and language arts outside of the classroom, in a nontraditional setting.
  • Lauren Valentine teaches at Aslup Elementary School in Commerce City, Colorado. The school recently adopted a program to help students with autism manage and foster positive behavioral, academic and communication skills. With the grant funds, Ms. Valentine plans to pilot an evidence based peer mediated instruction and intervention program to help her students push through their comfort zones.
  • Alyssa Henley teaches 8th grade at Dewey Public Schools in Dewey, Oklahoma. To ensure that her students pursue their passions, Ms. Henley will purchase two computers to allow them to work on individual research projects and engage in activities such as investigating different cultures around the globe, develop computer programs through online coding courses, create education-based movies and more.
  • Thomas Parker teaches at Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge, New Jersey, and is associated with the school's new JROTC program. With the grant funds from Farmers, Mr. Parker will help the JROTC students purchase uniforms, shoes, school desks and field trips to educational and historical museums. The uniforms will allow student-cadets to attend the "Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge" event, which promotes esprit de corps, teamwork, and self-confidence.

Below is a complete list of winners (note to editors, details of the winning proposals and access to the winning teachers are available by contacting Farmers Media Relations representatives listed above):

Name of Teacher


City, State

Linda Pendleton

Sacred Heart School

Valley Park, MO

Alyssa Henley

Dewey Public Schools

Dewey, OK

Lisa Dachs

Paragould Primary

Paragould, AR

Haley Price

Grandview Elementary

Elk City, OK

Rosa Denton

Sulphur Elementary School

Sulphur, OK

Tina Francis

Claremont Elementary

Claremore, OK

Brandi VanDelft

Macon Co. R-1 Middle School

Macon, MO

Bethany  Moss

Windsor High School

Windsor, MO

Callie Jones

Wynne Primary

Wynne, AR

Amanda  Muri

Canyon Creek School

Billings, MT

Lauren Valentine

Alsup Elementary School

Commerce City, CO

Leslie Potter

Benton Academy

Benton, MS

Charity Hohm-Whaley

Agape Montessori Christian Academy

Vicksburg, MS

Jennifer Kujath

Kasson-Mantorville Elementary

Kasson, MN

Holly Erickson

Warroad Elementary

Warroad, MN

Anita Carrera

Lamar Elementary

New Braunfels, TX

Laurie Rodriguez

United South High School

Laredo, TX

Cindy Smith

Notre Dame Catholic School

Wichita Falls, TX

Stephanie Correia

Walnut Springs Elementary

New Braunfels, TX

Monique Bienvenue

Memorial High School

Port Arhtur, TX

Jodi Kabat

Burns LSA

Hartford, CT

Jana Silvestro

C. Grant Grimshaw Elementary

LaFayette, NY

Thomas Parker

Woodbridge High School

Woodbridge, NJ

Kristina Holzweiss

Bay Shore Middle School

Bay Shore, NY

Lia Caravella

Memorial Middle School

Cedar Grove, NJ

Marilyn Lewis

Edgar Middle School

Metuchen, NJ

Brian Drumbore

Mt. Pleasant High School

Wilmington, DE

Mark Arrington

Madison County High School

Madison, VA

Holly Hunt

Welleby Elementary School

Sunrise, FL

Teressa Wade

Welleby Elementary

Sunrise, FL

Kristel Burgan

Columbia Central

Steger, IL

Kerrie Husarik

Parkview Elementary

Steger, IL

Amber Schaaf

Parkview Elementary

Steger, IL

Melissa Lorenzatti

Parkview Elementary

Steger, IL

Melissa  Smith

Spooner Elementary School

Spooner, WI

Julie Piskie

Spooner Elementary School

Spooner, WI

Jennifer Laubsch

Trinity Lutheran School

Elkhart, IN

Samantha Krause

Cherry Street Intermediate School

Kalkaska, MI

Stephanie Krause

Byron Center High School

Byron Center, MI

Ann Schuelke

Byron Center High School

Byron Center, MI

Amy  Freeman

Toby Johnson Middle School

Elk Grove, CA

Christine Bartlett

Toby Johnson Middle School

Elk Grove, CA

Cathy Dill

Bonny View Elementary

Redding, CA

Jay Jones

Modoc H.S.

Alturas, CA

Lanan Kendall

Grace Brethren Elementary School

Simi Valley, CA

Stacey Doyle

Thurgood Marshall

Chula Vista, CA

Natalia Salinas

Walnut Grove Int

West Covina, CA

Brian Harris

Valley View High School

Moreno Valley, CA

Courtney Flower


Kahului, HI

Colette Babson


Tacoma, WA

Jim Phillips

Coeur d'Alene High School

Coeur d'Alene, ID

Liz Harrell

Incline Middle School

Incline Village, NV

Trisha Junior

Abraham Lincoln

Phoenix, AZ

Doris  Merzweiler

Hayes and Wilson Middle Schools

Albuquerque, NM

Jane Schwalm

Sonoran Sky Elementary

Glendale, AZ

Kristi O'Donnel

Bonner Elementary

Las Vegas, NV

Stella Cravens

Abraham Lincoln Traditional School

Phoenix, AZ

Christine Ruhl

Abraham Lincoln Traditional School

Phoenix, AZ

Rozie Taylor

V. Sue Cleveland High School

Albuquerque, NM

Mary Kate Grant

Sunset Heights

Peoria, AZ

Farmers Insurance is working in partnership with, a national non-profit, to help teachers acquire the supplies and equipment they have requested in their proposals.

For more information about upcoming bus stops or the initiative, please visit:

About Farmers Insurance
Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is a leading U.S. insurer group of automobiles, homes and small businesses and also provides a wide range of other insurance and financial services products. Farmers Insurance is proud to serve more than 10 million households with over 19 million individual policies across all 50 states through the efforts of over 50,000 exclusive and independent agents and approximately 22,000 employees.

For more information about Farmers, visit its Web site at or at

About (AAC) gives teachers a hand by providing much needed classroom supplies and materials to help their students learn and succeed. As an award-winning 501(c)(3), AAC makes it easy for donors to provide funding and support to K-12 classrooms in public, private and charter schools throughout the U.S.  On average, teachers spend $500 of their own money each year to equip their classrooms - 10% of teachers spend more than $1000 annually. Since 1998 has raised over $22 million and benefited more than 5 million students throughout the U.S. AAC holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. For more information, or to adopt a classroom, please visit



Luis Sahagun




Trevor Chapman




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SOURCE Farmers Insurance



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