Dec. 17, 2008
Armand Bayou Elementary teacher wins prestigious Milken Award
HOUSTON – In a surprise school assembly today, Armand Bayou second-grade teacher Margaret Calagna was presented the Milken Family Foundation’s National Educator Award.
The coveted recognition carries with it a $25,000 cash prize, which Calagna can spend on anything she wishes.
Calagna is one of about 80 educators nationwide being recognized this year with the Milken Educator Award, which is designed to honor and reward exemplary teachers. This is the 22nd year that Milken Family Foundation representatives have crisscrossed the country to name, during surprise notification ceremonies, recipients of the awards.
Dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken National Educator Awards were created in 1987 to reward, retain and attract the highest caliber professionals to our nation’s schools.
This year, Texas has three other recipients. The other three, who were honored earlier, are Joanna Bacon, a kindergarten teacher in North East ISD in San Antonio; Claudia Pena, a second-grade teacher in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD; and Zulema Williams-Santa Ana, a third-grade teacher in Los Fresnos ISD.
“There’s no doubt about it. Margaret Calagna was born to teach,” said Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education. “She brings enthusiasm and tremendous energy to her classroom every day. Her willingness to embrace new teaching methods and practices and her strong leadership ability make her exemplary in every way. She is changing students’ lives and is a great representative for so many of her colleagues.”
An educator for six years, Calagna uses technology to engage her students, all of whom read at or above grade level. Her second-graders have the computer skills to create PowerPoint presentations on their own. She has trained other teachers how to teach science and uses musical instruments and costumes to stimulate interest and enthusiasm in her students.
“Nothing in America’s K-12 schools has more influence on student learning than the quality of the classroom teacher,” said Lowell Milken, chairman of the Milken Family Foundation. “Highly effective teachers are the bedrock in constructing a world-class education system that meets our challenges and opportunities in this 21st century. It is a national imperative that we attract, retain and motivate people of talent to the profession. America’s prosperity depends on it.”
Since its inception, the Milken Educator Awards have recognized more than 2,300 educators and presented them with more than $60 million in cash awards. The 2008 recipients will receive their $25,000 checks during the Milken National Education Conference in Los Angeles in April 2009. The recipients also attend an all-expense paid professional development conference while in California.
Milken Educator Award recipients are selected based on effective instructional practices and student learning results, exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom, strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership, and serving as a motivational role model for students, colleagues and the community.
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