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Farmers Insurance names first 30 winners of $2,500 grants as part of national Thank A Million Teachers program.

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First 30 Winners of $2,500 Grants as Part of Thank A Million Teachers Program

America Cast More Than 650,000 Votes for Teacher Proposals Submitted from Across the Nation

Los Angeles, Calif. (April 8, 2014) – Farmers Insurance, one of the nation’s largest multiline insurers, announced the first 30 winners of its “Thank A Million Teachers” program, a national initiative through which Farmers is inviting America to offer a heartfelt thanks to teachers, present and past, for the positive impact they have had in communities across the nation.  To date, more than 350,000 thank yous have been tallied on the website. As part of the national program, Farmers invited teachers to submit proposals for $2,500 grants. During March, the public voted on nearly 1,300 submitted proposals with the top six vote-getters in five regions selected as winners. In all, Farmers has committed to donating $1 million to teachers and education programs in 2014.

“These winning teachers are outstanding examples of the type of creativity and dedication found in classrooms across America and we congratulate our first group of winners,” said Randy Rice, National Manager of Education Programs for Farmers Insurance.  “We know these grants will have a major impact in schools throughout the country and we want to remind teachers that they can continue to submit proposals through the end of October as we will have additional opportunities for them to win grants.”

Among the grant winners:

  • Stephanie Cohen of Granada Elementary School in Alhambra, Calif., whose students include a number of deaf and learning disabled students.  She will use her grant to host performing arts workshops on disability awareness and promote storytelling, visual imagery and utilize American Sign Language to develop skits and other creative learning opportunities for her students;
  • Moore, Okla., teacher Dee Ann Moran with a classroom full of old and wobbly desks and chairs at Winding Creek Elementary School needs new furniture.  Due to tight budgets and last year’s devastating tornado, funds to replace the cracked furniture have not been available.  She plans to use her grant to provide her students with furniture that will enable them to focus on learning, not on pinching and uncomfortable desks and chairs;
  • Fiske Elementary School teacher Katie Friedl in Chicago, Ill., dreams of providing her students with as many hands-on science experiments as she can get her hands on   While they are currently studying frogs, she plans to expand learning about the life cycle of living things by acquiring a chicken incubation system and other science equipment to enable more interactive learning among her students;  
  • Samantha Majors, who teaches at Van Buren Elementary School in Van Buren, Mo., wants to increase access to technology to her rural students.  With her grant, she will purchase additional computers and other technology to help build language and writing skills and introduce new ways of learning through advanced technology;
  • Austin, Tex.-based teacher Veronica Twining at Fulmore Middle School remembers her days as a student and recalls the importance of having a safe and comfortable space to focus on learning.  With her grant she will purchase much needed school supplies and create a study corner that will be an inviting study sanctuary.

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

Name of Teacher   School City, State
Mark Adams Ironwood HS Glendale, Ariz.
Sandy Andrus Tyhee Elementary Pocatello, Idaho
Cindy Bateman Plymouth Elementary Taylorsville, Utah
Elizabeth Betts North Harrison R-III School Bethany, Mo.
Katie Buffum       San Marcos Middle School            San Marcos, Calif.
Stephanie Cohen         Granada Elementary Alhambra, Calif.
Luis Coronel School of Business & Tourism       Los Angeles, Calif.
Sheryl Depp Crews Lake Middle School Spring Hill, Fla.
Wade Dues           Vero Beach HS      Vero Beach, Fla.
Lindsey Elliott           Thompson Crossing Elementary Indianapolis, Ind.
Linda Empey        Tyhee Elementary

Pocatello, Idaho

Rebecca Freimann Felix Festa Middle School West Nyack, N.Y.
Katie Friedl          Fiske Elementary Chicago, Ill.
Shelley Hardenbrook Tyhee Elementary

Pocatello, Idaho

Jennifer Hodges Claremont Elementary Claremore, Okla.
Melissa       Hunt            I.T. Stoddard Elementary Blackfoot, Idaho
Tammi Kantola Beechnau Elementary

Ravenna, Mich.

Christie Kranjcec Dayton Elementary            Dayton, Nev.
Geralyn Lewis          Buford Elementary Lennox, Calif.
Amanda Maddox Newman Elementary Billings, Mont.
Samantha Majors        Van Buren Elementary

Van Buren, Mo.

Angie Moehlmann Sappington Elementary St. Louis, Mo.
Jennifer Moore         Gallatin HS Gallatin, Tenn.
Dee Ann Moran         Winding Creek Elementary            Moore, Okla
Chris Pawlak       Geneva HS           

Geneva, Ill.

Carla Perez James F. Murray Elementary

Jersey City, N.J.

John Piniat Potter-Thomas Elementary

Philadelphia, Pa.

Veronica Twining       Fulmore Middle School

Austin, Texas

Allison Vanek Suder Montessori   Chicago, Ill.
Karen Wietholter Newberry Academy  Chicago, Ill.


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.

Farmers announced the launch of the Thank A Million Teachers program in late December at a special event featuring Jack Black, who thanked his former teacher Debbie Devine, who he credited with saving his life. Several days later, Farmers brought additional attention to its campaign to thank educators across America with its Thank A Million Teachers New Year’s Day float in the Tournament of Roses parade.

The website is continuously accepting the public’s thank you’s and posts a live tally of the number of thank yous received so far.  It is also the place where teachers can submit their grant proposals for the next round of voting.  Proposals for the next round are being accepted in March and April for public voting in May.