PRESS RELEASE - October 30, 2003
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Charter School Founder, Teacher Katarina Sandoval Honored with $25,000 Milken Educator Award

(Albuquerque, NM)--South Valley Academy founder and teacher, Katarina Sandoval, of Albuquerque, received a prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award today at a surprise notification ceremony at the school. She will receive a $25,000 unrestricted financial award for her recognition to use in any way she chooses. She is the first teacher from a charter school in New Mexico to receive a Milken Educator Award.

Sandoval received her award before an audience that included Foundation Chairman Lowell Milken, students, faculty, Governor Bill Richardson, Secretary of Education-Interim Dr. Alan Morgan, Dr. Beth Everitt, superintendent of the Albuquerque Public Schools, and area legislators. Presenting the Milken Educator Award was Foundation Chairman Milken.

“Kata was the valedictorian of her high school and grew up in the South Valley. She knows the issues that affect our students and has always experienced success in finding ways to be successful. Teaching, founding and directing South Valley Academy is no exception. She helped produce both the philosophy that underpins the school and the policies that make it successful,” said Alan Marks, head teacher/principal at South Valley Academy. To view a profile of Milken Award winning South Valley Academy founder and teacher, Katarina Sandoval, click here.

In addition to the $25,000 financial award, Sandoval will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in 2004 to participate in the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference. She will become part of the Milken Educator Network, including nearly 2,000 top educators who have access to a variety of professional resources to help cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts.

Awards recipients are recommended to the Milken Family Foundation by an independent blue ribbon panel appointed by each state’s department of education. Predetermined criteria for the award include exceptional educational talent as evidenced by outstanding instructional practices in the classroom, school and profession, outstanding accomplishment, strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership and an engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

The Santa Monica, California-based Foundation was established in 1982 to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. It advances this mission through its work in medical research and education.