Monongalia, Kanawha, Pocahontas Teachers Named as Milken Award Winners

October 04, 2000

Three West Virginia educators were honored this week for their exceptional contributions to quality education when they were named as recipients of the prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards.  

One-hundred forty-five new Milken educators from 42 states will learn of their honors -- which include unrestricted $25,000 cash awards -- October 2-6 during surprise notification ceremonies across the nation.  

“These educators are making a real difference in the lives of children,” said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Stewart. “This marks our 11th year of recognizing excellence in education with the Milken Family Foundation, and we are proud to salute these teachers for their vision and dedication to the profession.”  

The three West Virginia winners are Rosemary Basham, a first grade teacher at Midland Trail Elementary School in Charleston; Cheryl Nelson, a multi-grade teacher at Hillsboro Elementary School in Pocahontas County; and L. Paulette Phillips, a first grade teacher at Daybrook Elementary School in Monongalia County. (See below for information on Basham, Nelson and Phillips.)  

In addition to the $25,000 financial awards, each Milken Educator Award recipient receives an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles in June 2001 to participate in the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference. They also become part of the Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 1,600 top educators who have access to a variety of professional resources to help cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts.  

West Virginia joined the Milken Educator Awards Program in 1990. Since then, 53 teachers and principals have received a total of $1,325,000 in financial awards.  

Recipients of the award are recommended to the Milken Family Foundation by an independent blue ribbon panel appointed by each state’s department of education. Predetermined criteria for the award include:  

•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.  

The Milken Family Foundation was established in 1982 to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Santa Monica, California-based Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in medical research and education. For additional information on the Milken Educator Awards or other Foundation initiatives, call (310) 998-3026 or visit the Foundation website at  

Rosemary Basham 1st Grade Teacher Midland Trail Elementary Kanawha County Years in education: 26  

Educational Background: AB: Morris Harvey College MA: West Virginia University  

Leadership Positions:  

Adjunct Faculty Member - Marshall University Graduate College  

Faculty Senate President  

Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Panel  

University of Charleston Master Teacher - Student Teacher Program  

Honors and Awards:  

Nominated for RESA III Exemplary Teaching Techniques Award -1999  

State Reading Teacher of the Year - 1996  

Finalist - Kanawha County Teacher of the Year - 1993  

Kanawha County English Language Arts Teacher of the Year - 1991  

Cheryl Nelson Multi-grade Teacher Hillsboro Elementary Pocahontas County Years in education: 9  

Educational Background: BS: Davis and Elkins College MA: Marshall University  

Leadership Positions:  

West Virginia Geographic Alliance member and teacher consultant  

County Social Studies Coordinator  

West Virginia Summer Geography Institute staff member  

Faculty Senate President  


Honors and Awards:  

Pocahontas County Teacher of the Year - 1997  

National Instructional Leadership Institute participant - 1995  

Humanities Mini-grant recipient - 1994  

Paulette Phillips 1st Grade Teacher Daybrook Elementary School Monongalia County Years in education: 16  

Educational Background: BA: Fairmont State College MA: West Virginia University  


Leadership Positions:  

School Technology Committee Chair  

Adult Learning Center Teacher  

GED class instructor  

Monongalia County Textbook Advisory Committee Member  


Honors and Awards:  

RESA VIII Exemplary Teaching Techniques Award Participant  

Ashland Oil Outstanding Teacher Award Nominee - 1992  

Video Production-Monongalia County Training Aid

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