Norfolk Collegiate second- and fifth-grade teachers Lolita Kraft and Robyn Maus are the first recipients of the 2014-15 Mathas Professional Development Grants. The grants are a new program through which Collegiate faculty are able to apply for grants to provide support for development opportunities, courtesy of Keryn and Ted Mathas ’85.

Mathas, a Collegiate alumnus, is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of New York Life Insurance Co., the largest mutual life insurer in the United States. 

With the grant, Kraft and Maus will be creating a Book of the Month Club, which will allow them to develop training materials for Lower School teachers and lesson plans for age-appropriate, interactive book units for the entire division. Additionally, Collegiate’s fourth and fifth-grade students will be trained as peer mentors to help to facilitate the book groups.

In addition, Kraft and Maus will attend the National Council of Teachers of English Convention in November to research best practices and then develop and implement the training in December and January. From January through May, they will implement one unit per month, present the project to Collegiate faculty and attend the Virginia State Reading Association conference in May to share their model with a larger audience.

“The Book of the Month Club promises to make an innovative, ongoing contribution to faculty development and language arts instruction at the Lower School,” said Headmaster Scott Kennedy.

To goal of the grants is to promote faculty growth and leadership in developing quality instructional programs for our students through professional activities that increase expertise in their disciplines, project-based learning, technology integration and other identified areas of focus for the school. They also support faculty summer projects that will transform a program or area of the curriculum that will be replicable across the wider school community. Recipients are limited to one grant per person per funding cycle and the number of grants awarded may vary from year to year.  

For more information about the Mathas Professional Development Grant and application process, please contact Judy Davis, director of curriculum and instruction, at The deadline for summer projects proposals is April 17, 2015.