State Educators to be Honored at National Education Conference

June 22, 2000

Honored with the prestigious Milken Educator Award for their exceptional contributions to public education, four West Virginia educators will each receive $25,000 as a highlight of the 11th annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference in Los Angeles June 27-28.  

The National Education Conference brings together governors, state education chiefs, legislators and business leaders to exchange ideas and research with 172 Milken Educators from 41 states who will be awarded an unprecedented $4.3 million as part of the nation’s largest teacher recognition program.  

The West Virginia educators were originally notified of their awards during surprise school assemblies last fall. They are Larry Fernandez, principal at Weir Middle School, Hancock County; Darlene Martin, mathematics teacher at Grafton High School, Taylor County; Nancy Moore, science teacher at Walton Elementary/Middle School, Roane County; and Wayne Yonkelowitz, science teacher at Fayetteville Middle School, Fayette County.  

State Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Stewart will travel to California to take part in the awards ceremony honoring the West Virginia recipients. He will also lead two state meetings for the West Virginia delegation during the conference.  

The Milken Educator Awards were initiated by Foundation Co-Founders Lowell and Michael Milken in 1985 as a means of recognizing, retaining and attracting the highest quality talent to the teaching profession. This year’s Conference will culminate with the 1999-2000 Milken Educator Award ceremony, Wednesday, June 28. Unrestricted $25,000 awards will be presented to 172 gifted educators in black-tie festivities described by Teacher Magazine (March 1998) as the “Oscars of teaching.”  

As part of its strategy to elevate the quality of America’s K-12 teachers, the Milken Family Foundation will announce five U.S. public schools as pilot sites for its Teacher Advancement Program. Since Foundation Chairman Lowell Milken first introduced the teacher Advancement Program in 1999, the initiative has received formal endorsement by education chiefs from eight states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia), representing 30 percent of the nation’s K-12 students.  

Since its founding in 1982, the Milken Family Foundation has been committed to discovering and advancing inventive and effective ways to help people help themselves and those around them to lead productive and satisfying lives. The Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medicine.  

For additional information on the Milken Educator Awards or the National Education Conference to be held at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, contact Bonnie Somers at (310) 998-2805 or email  

You can read the original announcement at:

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