Cabell County Kindergarten Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Milken National Educator Award

January 24, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A West Virginia educator was honored on Thursday by the Milken Family Foundation for her exceptional contributions to quality education. Village of Barboursville Elementary School kindergarten teacher Whitney Stead is this year’s Milken Award recipient. Village of Barboursville Elementary School is located in Cabell County.

The Award, which provides public recognition and an unrestricted financial award of $25,000 to teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education, alternates each year between elementary and secondary educators. New recipients are taken completely by surprise during schoolwide assemblies overflowing with proud students, colleagues, and an entourage of distinguished officials and media.

"Teachers have the most important jobs in America,” said Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken. “We entrust them with the enormous responsibility of preparing our young people with the skills, knowledge and experiences needed to be successful in a most challenging 21st century. The Milken Educator Awards say, in a very public way, that greatness in education must be recognized and rewarded.”

Whitney Stead has been in education for more than seven years. Colleagues say that Stead brings creativity into her lessons which engages students and gets them excited about learning. Ms. Stead is always at the forefront of innovativeness and her students benefit from her tenacity and commitment to education. Stead is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher and a master science teacher in S.I.M.P.L.E. (Science with Inquiry Modules and Problem-based Learning Experiences).

Research has shown that the single most important school-based factor driving student performance is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. The most effective teachers produce as much as five times the learning gains of the least effective teachers.

Award Criteria:

Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken Educator Awards have no formal nomination or application process. Educators are recommended for this prestigious honor without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each state’s department of education.

Candidates for the Milken Educator Awards are selected on the basis of the following criteria:

-Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;

-Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;

-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 Milken Educator Awards and the surprise notification events held throughout the United States, please contact the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4775 or visit


Lowell Milken has been an education reform leader for more than two decades. In addition to creating the Milken Educator Awards to recognize teacher talent, he established the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP)™ as a complementary initiative to develop more highly effective teachers through comprehensive, research-based reform. TAP has expanded to over 180 campuses since its launch in 1999, impacting more than 60,000 students and 5,000 teachers. In 2005 Lowell established the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, an independent public charity, to operate TAP and the Teacher Quality Best Practices Center with the goal of a quality teacher for every classroom in America.


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