April 30, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

New Mexico’s 2003 Milken Educator, Katarina Sandoval,
To Attend Milken Conference, Receive $25,000 Award

(Santa Fe, NM)—On Wednesday, May 5 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., 100 teachers, principals and specialists from across the country, including Albuquerque teacher Katarina Sandoval, will be presented with $25,000 Milken National Educator Awards. Dubbed the “Oscars of teaching” by Teacher Magazine, this black-tie gala honors some of America’s finest K-12 educators and celebrates their achievements in true Hollywood fashion.

Cash awards totaling $2.5 million are attached to this year’s Milken National Educator Awards, designed to recognize excellence in elementary and secondary schools and inspire talented young people to become teachers. Established in 1985 by education pioneer Lowell Milken, it is the largest teacher recognition program in the U.S., with over $49 million in awards presented to nearly 2,000 educators in 47 states, plus the District of Columbia.

Sandoval, founder and teacher at South Valley Academy charter school, was named as New Mexico’s Milken Educator on October 30, 2003. She is the first teacher from a charter school in New Mexico to receive a Milken Educator Award.

No one knows better than educators themselves how critical teacher quality is to the ultimate academic success of every student in America.

That is why, during Teacher Appreciation Week, hundreds of outstanding K-12 educators from across the U.S., including Sandoval, will join elected officials, policy leaders and other education experts as they explore ways to attract, develop, motivate and retain exceptional teachers at the 2004 Milken National Education Conference, May 4-6 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“Education is at the heart of nearly everything we value as individuals, citizens and productive human beings,” said Foundation Chairman Lowell Milken. “As we gather in our nation’s capital, we are reminded that our best educators are indeed among America’s leaders – leaders who face challenges with steadfast courage and promote positive change in young citizens, dedicating their lives to inspiring greatness in others. Great teachers are, simply, the architects of our nation's future.”

Respected as one of the premier seminars in K-12 education, this three-day conference will engage educators and policy leaders alike in intensive workshops, panel discussions and professional development opportunities designed to propel effective teaching into greater student achievement.


This year’s session slate features:

· Moderated by Lowell Milken, a panel including Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Congressman John Boehner (R-8th OH), U.S. Under Secretary of Education Eugene Hickok, Education Commission of the States President Ted Sanders, District of Columbia Council Member Kevin P. Chavous and Florida Atlantic University President Frank Brogan will discuss reforms and structural changes that must be made within America’s K-12 education system in order to advance academic achievement for all students;

· A discussion of inventive tactics to attract “highly qualified” individuals to the teaching profession, with Florida Commissioner of Education Jim Horne, Education Leaders Council CEO Lisa Graham Keegan, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Ray Simon, South Carolina Superintendent of Schools Inez Tenenbaum and Minnesota Commissioner of Education Cheri Yecke;

· An interactive debate about the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 with Nina Rees, U.S. deputy under secretary of education; Ken James, director, Arkansas Department of Education; Susan Zelman, Ohio superintendent of public instruction; education columnist Jay Mathews of the Washington Post; and Richard Ingersoll of University of Pennsylvania; and

· A dialogue about performance pay for teachers, featuring Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, Brad Jupp of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, Princeton University’s Alan Krueger and John Schacter of SPP Educational Consulting.

For more information about the 2004 Milken National Education Conference and the Milken National Educator Awards, please visit http://www.mff.org, or contact the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4775.