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3 AHS Teachers Win Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowships

3 AHS Teachers Win Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowships

Three Avon High School teachers – Lisa Kern, Dr. Catherine Lewis, and Matthew Payne – won 2022 Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowships. 

Scroll down to meet these outstanding educators, read about their plans for the grants they earned, and learn about the fellowship program. (Meet Avon's past winners.)

Lisa Kern

I am incredibly grateful to the Lilly Endowment for supporting my project. A teacher can only get two Lilly grants in their lifetime, and this is my second. My first sent me to 16 national parks where I recorded interviews with geologists, paleontologists, interpretive rangers, and more. I still use some of this material in my classes eight years later, and the way I think about space and time has changed thanks to that incredible experience. Since then, I’ve participated in the summer workshops for Teacher Creativity Fellows. Each year, I learn new things and improve my writing and teaching skills while networking with some of the most interesting teachers in Indiana. This time around, I plan to focus on the interaction between humans and their environment in Europe while hiking and kayaking through UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I am so excited to see what I will learn this time around! I hope to write a book based on the experiences I have on this trip. The Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant seems almost too good to be true, but it IS true!

Dr. Catherine Lewis

After I submitted my application, I was just excited to go to France, excited to do the things I had researched while writing the grant. The grant asks applicants to really think through and research what they are going to do, and by the time I was finished writing, I knew so much more about the places I wanted to visit. The process of writing the grant generated more knowledge and more excitement about visiting Paris, Normandy, and the Béarn region in southwest France.

I am grateful to win this award. In March 2020, I was feeling down and even frightened by Covid. I needed to pick myself up somehow to show my college-age daughters, who both came home at that time, that we could get through what we thought was going to be a short quarantine by continuing to learn and do our best every day for a better future. So I committed myself to learning French every day. I kept at it and dreamed of going to France when the pandemic ended. Now I will be able to fulfill that dream!

Matthew Payne

[I plan to] chronicle captivating changes in natural ecosystems in Crater Lake, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks; connect chemistry to modern engineering and offer students engaging analysis to reveal the diverse chemistry enabling these systems to thrive.

I had almost forgotten I had submitted the grant since I submitted it in September, so it was really good news to receive, especially for a Friday. To make a competitive grant, I felt like I tweaked my proposal many times until I thought it would really stand out for the reading committee. They really want to see that you’ve done your research and you have created a renewal plan that can be executed and is meaningful. They don’t want to fund a vacation.

This year marked the Lilly Endowment's 35th edition of its Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program. As one of the Endowment's longest standing programs, it exists as a way to help Indiana elementary and secondary educators renew and sustain their commitment to teaching. The Lilly Endowment awarded 103 grants in 2022, each totaling up to $12,000. 


  • AHS
  • Educators