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(Shown left to right) San Dieguito High School Academy Principal Adam Camacho and Teacher John Oly Norris receive a credit union grant from North Island Credit Union Encinitas VP/Branch Manager Lou Palestini. (Photo courtesy: North Island Credit Union)

North Island Credit Union Awards Grants to North County Teachers

Credit Union’s Spring Teacher Grant Program Provides $5,000 to Fund Innovative San Diego Learning Projects

San Diego CA— North Island Credit Union has awarded grants to three North County teachers as part of its Spring 2021 Teacher Grant program, assisting educators in funding innovative learning opportunities for their students. Through the Spring program, the credit union provides 10 grants of $500 each to directly support classroom projects across San Diego County.

Grant recipient Steven Aldridge, a teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Oceanside, will use the funds to create a Circuit Playground program to teach coding, programing, and computing to 7th – 8th graders. Encinitas Diegueno Middle School Teacher Maura Leonard’s grant will be used to fund a recorded cultural history project through video creation and film editing for her 7th -8th grade students. And John Oly Norris, a San Dieguito High School Academy teacher in Encinitas, received a grant to purchase materials for his socio-political history of rock and roll curriculum for high school students.

Island Credit Union Encinitas VP/Branch Manager Lou Palestini presents a credit union grant to Diegueno Middle School Teacher Maura Leonard and Principal Cara Dolnik, in Encinitas. (Photo courtesy: North Island Credit Union)

“We are deeply committed to supporting the education community, and our grant program is one way we are continuing to assist teachers as they work to engage and inspire their students,” said North Island Credit Union CEO Steve O’Connell. “We congratulate these educators who are going above and beyond to create exciting new programs for their students and families. We hope these grants will help our teachers bring learning to life for their students in creative and innovative ways.”

A complete list of the Spring 2021 North Island Credit Union San Diego County Teacher Grant recipients includes teachers across San Diego county:

North Island Credit Union

Grant Recipient

School City
Steven Aldridge Martin Luther King Middle School Oceanside
Shawna Benge Empower Academy El Cajon
Michael Flores Emerald Middle School El Cajon
Teagan Keyser Aseltine School San Diego
Michele Kmak La Mesa Arts Academy La Mesa
Maura Leonard Diegueno Middle School Encinitas
Roel Mislan Feaster Charter School Chula Vista
John Oly Norris San Dieguito High School Academy Encinitas
Ryan Odegard School for Entrepreneurship and Technology San Diego
Margaret Schlomer Rosebank Elementary School Chula Vista

The credit union grants will help fund a wide variety of programs illustrating the creativity and commitment teachers bring to their classrooms and communities. In addition to the North County programs, projects receiving grants include 3D printers to support science & history learning, coding & computing curriculums, team art projects for at-risk youth, and play-based therapy to address student trauma, among others.

Since the creation of the program in 2012, the credit union has awarded $135,000 in teacher grants to support classroom programs. Up to 20 grants are awarded bi-annually in the spring and fall. Any full-time classroom teacher in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside County can apply for a grant for a program that has clearly defined learning objectives tied to students’ academic needs, displays creativity in education, and targets a significant number of students. More information is available at northisland.ccu.com.


About North Island Credit Union, a division of California Credit Union

California Credit Union is a federally insured, state chartered credit union founded in 1933 that serves public or private school employees, community members and businesses across California. With more than 165,000 members and assets of over $4 billion, California Credit Union has 25 branches throughout Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. The credit union operates in San Diego County as North Island Credit Union, a division of California Credit Union. California Credit Union offers a full suite of consumer, business and investment products and services, including comprehensive consumer checking and loan options, personalized financial planning, business banking, and leading-edge online and mobile banking. Please visit northisland.ccu.com for more information or follow the credit union on Instagram® or Facebook® @northislandcu.

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