May 2017

Creating Opportunities for Individual and Community Growth through 
Education and Other Sustainable Projects.
Celebrating Our Class of 2017!

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." -Henry David Thoreau

Sam Brashears  (Wake Forest University)  
Sam majored in English with a dual minor in chemistry and biology.   He plans to attend medical school and become an emergency room physician.

Matthew Johann Grimm (University of Tennessee)
Matthew graduated with a degree in nursing.   He plans a career as a nurse practitioner after obtaining a masters degree in nursing.  He also plans to continue his work in the ministry.

From left, Niswonger Foundation representatives Larry Neas, Amanda Carpenter and Law Loving present books to Dr. Kristi Wallin of the Greene County Schools 

Niswonger Foundation Provides 
Hundreds of Books for  "Magic Book Bus"

The Niswonger Foundation has joined in the effort with Greene County Schools to ensure that a new "Magic Book Bus" becomes a reality for local students.

With assistance from Robert Mahaffey, president of the Rural School and Community Trust, the Niswonger Foundation was connected with international publishing company Penguin Press to secure a contribution of over 500 books for middle and high school students.

The books are mostly classics by authors like John Steinbeck, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte and Mark Twain.  There is an assortment of fiction for young adults, like John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars."

Various nonfiction and history books were also among the donated materials.

(Back Row, Left to Right) David Freeman, Hamblen County; Laurie Norris, Kingsport City; Alyson Dowda, Kingsport City; Carol White, Washington County; Kelly Vance, Bristol City; Lorie Plank, Johnson County; David Timbs, Johnson City; Patrick Fraley, Greeneville City. 
(Front Row, Left to Right) Tina Faust, TDOE; Gina Pavlovich, Niswonger Foundation; Vivian Franklin, Niswonger Foundation; Dominique Davis, Jefferson County.


The Leadership for Blended and Digital Learning (LBDL) training program at North Carolina State University was the catalyst for developing a blended learning opportunity for Niswonger Consortium school systems.  Blended learning, as defined by experts at the Christensen Institute, is a formal education program in which a student learns, (1. at least in part, through online learning; (2. at least in part in a "bricks and mortar" location outside the home; and (3. the modalities along each student's learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.

Ten regional educators, along with Niswonger Foundation staff members Vivian Franklin and Gina Pavlovich attended this training and developed the expertise to bring these skills back to the region.  When the school leaders returned to their districts they were able to offer an LBDL blended course, which 33 principals were nominated, by their school system directors, to attend from across the First Congressional District.

Niswonger Foundation and Rural School and Community Trust Announce Two Regional Elementary Schools to Receive Grants from Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children

The Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children has announced the most recent round of awards in support of underfunded schools, providing much-needed resources to make a difference in the lives of young children. From Northeast Tennessee, Hancock County Elementary School, in Sneedville, and Carter's Valley Elementary School, in Church Hill, are, each, recipients of $50,000 grants.  Both schools were assisted by the Niswonger Foundation in completing the grant applications and hosting the school site visits by the reviewing officials.

Dr. Nancy Dishner, President and CEO of the Niswonger Foundation credits a strong and supportive relationship from the Rural School and Community Trust for the successful submission of these grants for two schools in this region. Dishner stated: "We are deeply appreciative of the Rural School and Community Trust, for bringing this opportunity to the attention of the Niswonger Foundation and for assisting us in the application process. This organization has been a long-standing supporter of rural schools across the nation, and a valued partner in the work of the Niswonger Foundation." 


Law Loving, CareerConnect Coordinator at the Niswonger Foundation was among five people under 30 to receive the 2017  " People of Promise" award at the America's Promise Summit in New York on April 18. 

The America's Promise Alliance, the largest network dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth, sponsored the awards at Recommit to Kids, The Summit for America's Future.  The honor included a $20,000 award from AT&T, which will be used for the CareerConnect program.

These five young people were recognized for using their talents and experiences to change the lives of children and giving them a future of hope and success.

In addition to Law, the other honorees are, Yasmine Arrington, Quardean Lewis-Allen, Sixto Cancel and Alejandro Gac-Artigas.  

Law Loving stated: "Children are our future.  As a country, we will set ourselves up for failure if we don't invest in them now.  I'm proud to accept this award on behalf of the Niswonger Foundation and CareerConnect and look forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of young people for years to come."

(L-R) Nikki Niswonger, Scott Niswonger, Emily Ellison, Levi Blazer, Lorraine Hayes, Ty Myers and Brittany Church


At a dinner, hosted by Scott and Nikki Niswonger, the  newest class of Niswonger Scholars and their families were welcomed to the Niswonger Foundation's Scholarship and Leadership program.  These five Scholars join the group of 21 current  Scholars and 61 Alumni of the Foundation.  

The new Scholars include: Levi Blazer, Cocke County High School; Brittany Church, Johnson County High School; Emily Ellison, Cocke County High School; Lorraine Hayes, Cloudland High School; and Ty Myers, Tennessee High School.

The dinner was held at the General Morgan Inn, and the key speaker, Dr. Nancy Dishner spoke to the Scholars and their parents about what the next four years would hold for them. Each Scholar was asked to introduce their family and share their university choice and study plans.  

Two alumni Scholars, Nick Darnell and Matt Bible, who participated in selecting this Class of 2021, attended the dinner with their spouses. Each spoke to the new Scholars and gave them their best advice for a successful college experience.

Mr. and Mrs. Niswonger also spoke to the group, personally welcoming them, and offering their advice and assistance for the next four years and beyond.


Niswonger Foundation Moving Offices
to Downtown Location

The Niswonger Foundation plans to move from it's current location on the Tusculum College campus to a newly purchased historic downtown mansion sometime this year.  Architect, John Fisher has located the original blueprints for the mansion and plans for an extensive interior restoration that will return the home to its original state.

"The North Main Street office will provide a central point for the foundation's work throughout the region, and is likely to attract educators and other professionals from other areas to the heart of downtown Greeneville." said Foundation President, Dr. Nancy Dishner. 

Niswonger Foundation officials have said they plan to host an open house once the restoration is complete.
Niswonger Scholars Shine!

Hope Adkins 
(Carson Newman University, junior) has received an educational internship at Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville this summer.

Savannah Agan (Milligan College, freshman) has been selected to be a student ambassador for the 2017-2018 school year.

Sam Brashears (Wake Forest University, senior) has been accepted to East Tennessee State University's Quillen College of Medicine.

Christian Dalton (University of Tennessee, freshman) has received an internship at the Hawkins County Extension Office.

Alumni Scholar News

Dr. Mary Kate Baker  (Class of 2007)  was awarded an ETSU  RDC  Small Grant for a research project titled, "Exploring Spheres of Silence  Surrounding Cervical Cancer Communication in Appalachian Tennessee." She  received the " Public Official of the Year Award " from the Northeast Branch of the  Tennessee Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Matthew Bible  (Class of 2011) has been promoted to Advanced Chemical Engineer at Eastman Chemical.

Chris Brown
(Class of 2010) has been named Teacher of the Year by the Chattanooga Rotary Club.  He has accepted a new position at Cleveland High School in Chattanooga for the 2017/2018 school year. He and his wife Joli are expecting their first child, a girl, in July.

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