Milken Family Foundation Winner Honored by West Virginia Board of Education

October 06, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Monroe County educator honored by the Milken Family Foundation for her exceptional contributions to quality education was recognized Wednesday by the state Board of Education for her accomplishments.

April Hobson, an English teacher at James Monroe High School, was selected last year as West Virginia’s 2009 recipient of the prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, an award created to retain and attract the highest caliber professionals to our nation’s schools.

Hobson, who has been teaching for seven years, found her way to the classroom after a tumultuous home life forced her to drop out of school at the age of 17. When own children were in the Monroe County School System, she was encouraged to go back to school herself, earn a GED, get her teaching degree and certification. She says her greatest contribution to education is bringing her whole self to the task of shaping the lives of young people.

Hobson received $25,000 and an all-expense paid trip to a professional development conference held annually in Los Angeles. Winners can spend the money any way they choose. Additionally, she joined the Milken Educator Network, which provides access to a variety of expert resources to help cultivate and expand programs in the classroom, school and community.

“April has made significant contributions to quality education in West Virginia and continues to contribute to the lives of her students every day,” state Superintendent Steve Paine said. “She represents the type of teacher we need in our schools if our students are to succeed in the digital world of the 21st century.”

Dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Award was created by brothers Lowell and Michael Milken to recognize the efforts of some of our nation’s most outstanding teachers, principals and specialists in public education. The Milken Educator Award, first awarded in 1987, has become the largest educator recognition program in the country. Since its inception, the foundation has presented more than $60 million to about 2,400 educators nationwide.

Educators are recommended for the prestigious honor without their knowledge by a panel appointed by each state’s department of education and notified in a surprise school-wide assembly. Recipients of the Milken National 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. The West Virginia

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards.Through the WVDE's 21st century learning plan called Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it, West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT, college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699. 

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