A West Virginia Educator Surprised With $25,000 Milken National Educator Awards

October 21, 2008

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A West Virginia educator was honored Tuesday by the Milken Family Foundation for her 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.

Unsuspecting educators across America are being 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. 

Barbara Black, a third grade teacher at West Teays Elementary School in Putnam County, received the Milken Award at her school. Black has been a teacher for 12 years. Her 21st century lesson design incorporates best teaching practices along with an intuitive understanding of her students’ needs. She was chosen, in part, for her understanding of child development, her creativity and her innovation in the classroom. 

“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 Barbara Black give us great hope for the future of American education, and America’s children. We are proud to salute Barbara and other teachers like her for their vision and dedication to the profession.” 

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 Los Angeles. 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. 

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; 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 Web site at www.mff.org.


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