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October 4, 2002

Two Outstanding New Mexico Educators to be Surprised With $25,000 Milken National Educator Awards

(Santa Fe, NM)- They don't know it yet, but some of America's best educators - including two in New Mexico - are about to hit the jackpot!

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. From October 7-18, 100 unsuspecting educators across the country will be surprised with the news of their $25,000 Awards - which can be used any way they choose - during emotional, school-wide assemblies attended by state and local officials, students, peers and community leaders.

New Mexicans agree that providing a first rate education for every child is one of the most important issues facing our country. And although research shows that there is no greater factor in successful student learning than the quality of teachers in our schools, the work of highly regarded educators is rarely recognized.

"Each one of these outstanding educators from New Mexico makes a significant contribution to the lives and futures of our children," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis. "This marks our 11th year of recognizing excellence in education with the Milken Family Foundation, and we are proud to acknowledge the vision and dedication these educators bring to New Mexico's schools."

Education pioneer Lowell Milken - chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation - created the Awards to celebrate the efforts of some of our nation's most outstanding teachers, principals and specialists in K-12 education. Under his leadership, the Milken National Educator Awards has become the largest teacher recognition program in the United States. By the end of October, 1,877 exceptional educators from 46 states will have been recognized, totaling over $46.9 million in Awards from the Foundation since the program's inception.

"Dedicated and talented teachers are the cornerstone of a quality education for our children," said Milken. "We salute the outstanding work of these inspiring educators as they help guide and ensure the success of future generations."

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 accomplishments and strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and
  • Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community at-large.
Recipients are presented with their $25,000 Award checks at the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference, an all-expenses-paid professional development conference held in Los Angeles. They also join the Milken Educator Network, a coalition of nearly 2,000 top educators who have access to a variety of expert resources to help cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts.

For more information about the Milken National Educator Awards, including the dates and locations of Notification events to be held in New Mexico, please contact the New Mexico State Department of Education at (505) 476-0393 or the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 998-3088. Awards information can also be found on the Foundation web site at