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Two alumni win NCTE Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Awards

Two Furman University alumni have received the Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) – Brianna Burnette ’18 of Greer, South Carolina, and Daniel Christian Hoilett ’15 of Greenville, South Carolina.

This year marks the first time Furman alumni have been selected for the honor since it was first established in 2008. Only six educators nationally were selected for the 2019 award.

The purpose of the award is to support early career teachers of color as they build accomplished teaching professions in literacy education. Those eligible for the award are practicing pre-K through university-level literacy educators of color, who are in the first five years of a paid teaching career and who aspire to build a career in literacy education.


Brianna Burnette ’18

Burnette will begin her second year as a fourth-grade teacher at Mary H. Wright Elementary school in Spartanburg, South Carolina, next month. She graduated Furman with a bachelor’s in elementary education and a minor in African-American studies and African diaspora cultures. She is also pursuing a master’s in education with a concentration in literacy at the university.

As a student teacher, Burnette taught second grade at Roebuck Elementary School in Spartanburg. During her undergraduate experience, she studied international public education in Finland and the Czech Republic.

Her research interests include critical literacy, cultural responsive pedagogy, and social justice and race in the classroom. She also helps coordinate the Furman University Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, which encourages elementary students to engage in literacy activities with college students and professors. Overall, Burnette enjoys teaching and brainstorming creative, engaging and rigorous ideas for the classroom.


Daniel Christian Hoilett ’15

Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Daniel Christian Hoilett has called Greenville home for the last four years. He graduated Furman with a bachelor’s in elementary education and an interdisciplinary minor in Latin American studies.

Hoilett will start his fifth year at Greenville County School District this fall teaching second grade at Brushy Creek Elementary School in Taylors, South Carolina. He will also be finishing a master’s in education with a concentration in literacy at Furman.

Always passionate about reading, Hoilett points to his Furman undergraduate experience serving in Charlotte’s Freedom School Partners as a pivotal moment. His goal is to grow into the type of literacy teacher who tirelessly empowers students and imparts a lifelong love of reading and writing.

Learn more about the NCTE Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award. Or contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

Last updated July 29, 2019
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director