Two West Virginia Educators Surprised with $25,000 Milken National Educator Awards

October 27, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. - Two West Virginia educators were honored today by the Milken Family Foundation for their exceptional contributions to quality education. Dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken National Educator Awards were created in 1985 to reward, retain and attract the highest caliber professionals to our nation’s schools.  

This month, 100 unsuspecting educators across America will be surprised with the news of their $25,000 awards– which can be used any way they choose– during emotional all-school assemblies attended by state and local officials, students, peers and community leaders.  

“Quality teaching is the basic building block of better schools and student success. Good teachers really do make a difference,” said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Paine. “Educators like these give us great hope for the future of American education, and America’s children. We are proud to salute these teachers for their vision and dedication to the profession.”  

Tammy Holbert Wells, the principal of Valley High School in Wetzel County, was named a winner of the Educator Award. Joseph Stevens, an English teacher at Parkersburg High School in Wood County also recieved the honor this year.  

State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine, 1995 Milken Recipient - Tammy Holbert Wells, 2005 Milken Recipient - Dr. Jane Foley, Milken Family Foundation and 1994 Milken Recipient

Recipients are presented with their $25,000 checks at the Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference, an all-expenses-paid professional development conference being held in Washington D.C. They also join the Milken Educator Network, a coalition of more top educators who have access to a variety of expert resources to help cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts.  

Jack Wiseman, 1993 Milken Recipient - Joseph Stephens, 2005 Milken Recipient - Dr. Jane Foley, Milken Family Foundation and 1994 Milken Recipient - Dan Daniel, 1991 Milken Recipient - Dr. Steve Paine, State Superintendent of Schools and 1995 Milken Recipient

Education pioneer and reformer Lowell Milken– the Foundation’s Chairman and Co-Founder– created the awards in 1985 to recognize the efforts of some of our nation’s most outstanding teachers, principals and specialists in K-12 public education. Under his leadership, the Milken National Educator Awards program has become the largest teacher recognition program in the United States.  

Educators are recommended for this prestigious honor without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by the West Virginia Department of Education. Recipients of the Milken Educator Awards are selected on the basis of numerous criteria including:  

•Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by outstanding instructional practices in the classroom, school and profession; •Outstanding accomplishment and strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; •Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.  

For more information about the $25,000 awards, please contact Liza Cordeiro, West Virginia Department of Education at (304) 558-2699 or the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4771. Awards information can also be found on the Foundation website at  

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