WVBOE Honors Milken Educators

March 24, 2006

Charleston, W.Va. - Two West Virginia educators were honored Thursday evening by the West Virginia Board of Education and the Milken Family Foundation for their exceptional contributions to quality education.  


Joseph Stephens, an English teacher at Parkersburg High School in Wood County and Tammy Holbert-Wells, the principal at Valley High School in Wetzel County were recognized at the Excelling in Education Milken Banquet.  

“West Virginia teachers know that the future belongs to the educated,” said West Virginia Board of Education President Lowell Johnson. “Stephens and Holbert-Wells serve as reminders of the quality workforce we have in our public schools. They inspire their students and set an example for their colleagues.”  

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.  

In October, 100 unsuspecting educators across America were 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. Steven 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.”  

Recipients will be 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 than 1,700 top educators who have access to a variety of expert resources to help cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts.  

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 each state’s 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; and •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. Awards information can also be found on the Foundation website at www.mff.org.  

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