New Mexico

Public Education Department

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe , New Mexico 87501-2786

Dr. Veronica C. Garc

Secretary of Education


Beverly Friedman

Public Information Officer



Press Release


For Immediate Release:  October 26, 2005





Milken Family Foundation goes coast-to-coast rewarding some of

America’s best teachers during National Notifications


SANTA FE, New Mexico. (Oct. 26)They don’t know it yet, but some of America’s best educators, including two from New Mexico, are about to hit the jackpot!


Dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken National Educator Awards were created by Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken in 1985 to celebrate, elevate and activate the highest caliber professionals in our nation’s schools.  Beginning on October 24 and continuing into November, up to 100 unsuspecting secondary teachers, principals and specialists throughout the U.S. will be surprised with the news of their $25,000 awards – which can be used any way they choose – during emotional, schoolwide assemblies attended by federal, state and local officials, students, peers and community leaders.


The Milken Educator Awards have become the largest national teacher recognition program in the U.S., recognizing exceptional educators with over $54 million in cash prizes from the Foundation since the program’s inception.  In addition, these educators join the Milken Educator Network, a coalition of more than 2,100 top educators who serve as both expert resources and partners to network members and policymakers as they help cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts.


“Excellence must not be the exception in our schools, but rather the norm.  Talented teachers are the key to ensuring high-quality educational opportunities for all students,” said Lowell Milken.  “By recognizing and rewarding outstanding educators each year, we focus the nation’s attention on the critical need to attract, retain and motivate caring, capable people to the American teaching profession.


Research shows that the single most important school-based factor impacting student achievement is having a talented teacher in the classroom.  The difference between an effective and ineffective teacher can be a full grade level of student achievement in a single year.  The urgency for high-caliber teachers has become a top national priority this year as schools work toward meeting No Child Left Behind’s requirement of “highly qualified” teachers in every classroom by this spring.









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.


Recipients are presented with their unrestricted $25,000 award checks at the annual Milken National Education Conference, an all-expenses-paid professional development conference held in Washington, D.C.


For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, and the surprise Notification events held throughout the U.S., please contact the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4773 or visit 


Lowell Milken has been an education pioneer and reformer 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 high-quality teachers through research-based, comprehensive reform.  The Teacher Advancement Program has expanded to over 100 schools since its inception in 1999, impacting more than 45,000 students and 3,100 teachers.