2 Furman alumni awarded national diversity award

Published on Monday, July 29, 2019

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Brianna Burnette

Brianna Burnette


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Daniel Christian Hoilett 

Daniel Christian Hoilett 


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 (Class of 2018) of Greer and Daniel Christian Hoilett (Class of 2015) of Greenville is 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.

Burnette will begin her second year as a fourth-grade teacher at Mary H. Wright Elementary school in Spartanburg 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.

Hoilett, originally from Charlotte 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. He will also be finishing a master’s in education with a concentration in literacy at Furman.

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.



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