TEA News Releases Online
Oct. 20, 2010
Dallas teacher wins $25,000 Milken award
DALLAS – Third-grade teacher Rogelio Garcia thought Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott were coming to his school today to get a first-hand look at urban education. Instead, the James B. Bonham Elementary School teacher found the spotlight turned on him.
During a morning assembly, Garcia received the attention and accolades that many teachers deserve and few get. Garcia learned that he has been selected to receive a 2010 Milken National Educator Award. The prestigious award, which has been called the “Oscars of teaching,” carries with it a $25,000 cash award, which Garcia can spend on anything he wishes.
Only 55 teachers in the entire country will receive the Milken award this year. Established by the Milken Family Foundation, the Milken National Educator Award program is now the largest teacher recognition program in the country, having awarded $62 million in prizes since its inception in 1987.
Educators don’t apply for the award. They come to the attention of state leaders in a variety of ways and then a blue-ribbon panel in each state recommends possible recipients to the foundation, which ultimately decides who will be recognized.
Colleagues describe Garcia, a Dallas Independent School District teacher, as a “model educator. He has a charismatic way about him. Parents love him and his teaching style. Many parents, year after year, request this educator to be part of their child’s life. He forms strong bonds with students so that students do well because they want to make him proud.”
Garcia is an active leader on the campus. He serves on the Campus Improvement Leadership Team (CILT) and serves as the campus’ New Teacher Support Team Mentor. He makes sure new faculty members have both the physical and mental support they need to succeed.
He has also played a key role in ensuring the success of the campus’ dual language program. When the campus prepared to implement the program, Garcia was instrumental in reviewing the new learning standards for English Language Learners. He wanted to make sure the standards were rigorous and aligned with the state accountability system. Garcia was adamant that the program have a firm foundation in reading.
Although he has been approached about moving into administration, Garcia, who has taught for 12 years, has declined the opportunity. He says he is devoted to teaching and wants to remain on the front line.
Today’s award recognizes that dedication. Along with having state leaders celebrate his success today, Garcia will receive an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles this spring to participate in the Milken Educator Forum. It is during this event that he will receive his cash award.
For more information about the Milken award, visit http://www.mff.org and www.youtube.com/milkenaward.