New Mexico

Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar

Santa Fe , New Mexico 87501-2786


Dr. Veronica C. García                                                                                                                                            

Secretary of Education


Beverly Friedman

Public Information Officer



NEWS Release


For Immediate Release:  November 9, 2005


Albuquerque Educators Honored with $25,000
Milken Educator Awards


 (Albuquerque, NM)Two Albuquerque educators received prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards today at surprise notification ceremonies at their schools.  Carlos Ortega, a 6th-8th grade instructional coach at Washington Middle School, and Jessamyn (Jessie) Young, a 9th-12th grade language arts teacher at Robert F. Kennedy Charter School, will receive $25,000 unrestricted financial awards for their recognition to use in any way they choose.


Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García and Richard Sandler, executive vice president for the Milken Family Foundation, presented the awards.


Secretary Dr. García said, “I am delighted to join the Milken Family Foundation in recognizing these exceptional educators.  They are making schools work and providing opportunities for every student to develop their capabilities for success.”


Washington Middle School’s principal, Cynthia Challberg-Hale, described Ortega as one of Albuquerque Public Schools’ “most capable master bilingual teachers.”  Ortega has been instrumental in the development and implementation of a middle school dual language program at the school, where he provides staff with ongoing professional development.  “The work he has accomplished with the teachers of language learners has been remarkable,” Challberg-Hale said.


Robert F. Kennedy Charter School’s director, Greta Roskom, said that Young has an “amazing” ability to transform students into excited, motivated learners.  Young launched a poetry slam that’s held every other week at the school.  The event attracts students from area schools who share lyrics and readings.  “She conveys to her students a genuine belief in their ability to overcome the barriers to learning and reveal their talents,” Roskom said.


Both Ortega and Young are graduates of the University of New Mexico.  Ortega holds a BA in Spanish and Secondary Education and Young holds BAs in Creative Writing/Political Science and Secondary Education.


In addition to the $25,000 financial awards, they will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in 2006 to participate in the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference.


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 innovative instructional practices and results in the classroom, school and profession, outstanding accomplishments beyond the classroom and potential for professional and policy leadership in the years to come and an engaging and inspiring presence and ability to motivate and impact 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.