Oct. 17, 2008
West Avenue kindergarten teacher wins prestigious Milken Award
SAN ANTONIO – In a surprise school assembly today, West Avenue Elementary kindergarten teacher Joanna Bacon was presented the Milken Family Foundation’s National Educator Award.
The coveted recognition carries with it a $25,000 cash prize, which Bacon can spend on anything she wishes.
Bacon 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 first presented in 1987 to reward, retain and attract the highest caliber professionals to our nation’s schools. This year, Texas has three recipients.
"Joanna Bacon is the kind of teacher who instills a love of learning in her students," said Robert Scott, commissioner of education. "Because of her skills as a teacher, her students are well-equipped to move on to first grade. I am very proud of her and what she has accomplished. She personifies the excellence that is found in so many Texas educators, and I congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition."
Bacon uses a combination of learning and play with her students. Her methods, developed during her five years in the classroom, are emulated by other teachers, who look to her for advice, guidance and counsel on a daily basis. She is skilled at employing technology in the educational process and has helped other teachers develop similar skills.
"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. In the eight years that Texas has participated in the award program, 37 educators have been honored. 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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