Master class with Basil Twist. Photo by Pat Swain.

The Don Quixote “Follow Your Dream” Fellowships

When teachers are inspired, students benefit. The Don Quixote Fellowships support idealistic, romantic, creative, impractical, adventurous projects born of teachers’ passions.

Projects can, but need not, be related to classroom practice: a science teacher might study Inuit poetry in Alaska or a pre-K teacher might carve a fifteen-foot marble sculpture. We are looking for applicants who use ingenuity in planning an original experience.

Applications with budgets between $1,000 and $5,000 will be considered.

The Don Quixote Fellowship is open to Fellows of The Academy for Teachers who have taught in a pre-K-12 classroom setting for more than five years and who intend to remain in education for the foreseeable future.

We do not fund family vacations, fees for most professional development programs, or tuition for college classes.

  • Application deadline: January 15, 2022
  • Winners announced: March 1, 2022

Projects must start after March 1, 2022 and end by September 1, 2022. Recipients will be asked to submit photos and a brief written report at the conclusion of their experience.

Complete this application, with the following materials.

Résumé

No longer than one page. List teaching and relevant work experience, educational background, and honors and awards, as well as hobbies, interests, and skills.

Project Narrative

No longer than one thousand words. Include:

  1. Project title.
  2. Fifty-word summary.
  3. Rationale for the project, describing why it is important to you.
  4. A detailed timeline of activities (when, where, how, and with whom).

Budget

List all expenses in an Excel spreadsheet. Provide sources and explain how you arrived at each amount. (In most cases, the grant will be subject to federal income tax. Please include this tax liability as a line item.) Financial reporting instructions will be sent to grant recipients following the announcement of awards.

Letters of Recommendation

Please arrange for two letters of recommendation, each to be emailed as an attachment from the recommender directly to rachel@academyforteachers.org. One letter must come from an educator colleague. Effective letters of recommendation reflect the writer’s familiarity with both the applicant and the proposed project. Letters must be received by the January 15 deadline.

Past Don Quixote Fellows & Projects

David Price, Bard High School Early College Queens
Doing Mathematics Through Art of the Islamic World

David Price, a high school math teacher, has incorporated Islamic geometric art into his work with students and fellow educators. In Islam, geometric patterns play a central role in religious art, particularly in the art found in north Africa and Europe. His Fellowship brought him to London, England and Andalusia, Spain, to study patterns in Islamic art and expand on his understanding of what it means to think—and see—mathematically.


Arend Thorp, Beacon High School
Helping to Heal the Earth

Arend Thorp, who teaches science and technology, is committed to educating students about their relationship to the planet and to encourage in them a sense of stewardship for the natural world. He traveled to the Bay Islands of Honduras to contribute to the observation and restoration of coral reefs. While there, he used his study of underwater photography to document as many species of life as possible to draw attention to the ongoing anthropogenic mass extinction taking place on Earth.


Juliet Varnedoe, Williamsburg Prep High School
French Cajun Blues Songwriting Retreat

Juliette Varnedoe has been teaching English at a public high school in Brooklyn for more than 10 years. Her fellowship brought her to St. Martinville, Louisiana, where she immersed herself in the sounds and rhythms of Cajun bayou country. She studied Cajun French while developing her songbook, rehearsing with authentic New Orleans blues players, and writing a suite of French Cajun songs.

Jasper DeAntonio, Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice
Unraveling the Urbanite’s Relationship to the City

Jasper DeAntonio’s math students use statistics to analyze the effects of New York’s built environment. His fellowship funded research on urban design and civic engagement in three European cities—Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam—creating a dataset that will serve as a basis of comparison for future classroom inquiries.


Julissa Llosa, Harvest Collegiate High School
Living in Harmony with the Earth

Julissa Llosa, a teacher of art and special education, has been taking students on outdoor overnight trips for several years. Her fellowship took her to seven national parks in the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau, where she sharpened her wilderness skills, deepened her appreciation of nature, and gathered stories to share with her students.


Megan Minturn, The Brooklyn International High School
Learning Dance Techniques in Brazil

Megan Minturn teaches dance in a public school, leads her own dance company, and dances with two others. Having previously studied sabar dance in Senegal and salsa in Cuba, her fellowship allowed her to study orixá dance, capoeira, and Silvestre technique in Brazil.

David Harvey, The Dalton School
Working with Teachers in Rural Ecuador

David Harvey, a math teacher, first traveled with Teachers-2-Teachers Global to Santo Domingo de Onzole in Ecuador. This isolated jungle community, established by escaped slaves, was until recently only accessible by canoe and had no federal funding for education. With the help of the Don Quixote Fellowship, David returned to Santo Domingo de Onzole with his wife, a native of Ecuador and elementary and middle school Spanish teacher, to collaborate with under-trained teachers in under-resourced schools on curricula and other educational issues.


Sarah Murphy, The Browning School
Tiny Box Theater Goes to Scotland

Sarah Murphy, a librarian who teaches theater, co-founded the Tiny Box Theater in her spare time. The group stages unusual puppet shows inside various types of small boxes, for one or two observers at a time. These (very) brief theatrical pieces have been performed at the Figment festival on Governors Island and other venues. Sarah’s Don Quixote Fellowship allowed Tiny Box to develop a new street theater piece and perform it during the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Anita Yu, East Side Middle School
Making Connections with Math through Art

Anita Yu teaches math and started a Women In Science and Engineering group at East Side Middle School. She has long been fascinated by the ways math can intersect with art and has built mathematical sculptures with her students, including a harmonograph and a truncated icosahedron. Her Don Quixote Fellowship helped her realize the long-held dream of attending the Bridges Conference On Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, Architecture, Education, and Culture in Stockholm, Sweden.

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