“Milken Educators point to their award as a pivotal professional milestone. They understand that encompassed in this recognition is the responsibility to grow as a leader at the school level and beyond. Encouraged and supported, these outstanding educators discover a renewed passion and purpose as they stretch their professional practices and policy influence to even higher levels.”
—Dr. Jane Foley, Senior Vice President, Milken Educator Awards
Dr. Jane Foley
As senior vice president, Milken Educator Awards, at the Milken Family Foundation, Dr. Jane Foley oversees the selection and notification of Milken Educators and works with state agencies on state events related to the Awards. In 1994, she received the Milken Educator Award for the state of Indiana.
Dr. Foley is also director of the Milken Scholars, an initiative that helps outstanding young men and women achieve their academic and professional goals.
She is senior advisor for the Lowell Milken Center, a Kansas-based initiative that supports projects across the country and world that feature unsung heroes that have changed the course of history.
From 2006 to 2010, she was senior advisor to former U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. William Bennett and led a team of Milken Educators to develop an online curriculum and advance the use of his American History books, America: The Last Best Hope, in schools across the country.
Starting in 2002, Dr. Foley led a Foundation project to disseminate an interdisciplinary curriculum guide based on The Children of Willesden Lane, a World War II memoir by Grammy-nominated pianist Mona Golabek that serves as a rich learning resource for schools. Dr. Foley also serves as an Honorary Director Emeritus on Mona's foundation, Hold On To Your Music.
Dr. Foley was a public school educator for 24 years, serving at the elementary and high school levels as both teacher and principal. Before coming to the Foundation in 1998, she was principal of Flint Lake Elementary School in Indiana, which, under her leadership, attained state and national recognition in the areas of school restructuring, professional development, technology integration and student achievement. Dr. Foley received her B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. from Purdue University, and her honors include the International Society of Educational Planning Outstanding Dissertation Award, Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honorary, and the 2011 Distinguished Education Alumni Award from Purdue University’s College of Education.
Having worked at the Milken Family Foundation in several capacities since 1994, Greg Gallagher now serves as a Senior Program Administrator. He leads, supervises, and executes the logistical requirements of the Milken Educator Awards department throughout the various program cycles including selection, notifications, state and national events as well as throughout the program cycles of the Milken Scholars Program, especially regarding the numerous on-site and off-site events. As Alumni Director of the Milken Scholars Program from 2009-2014, Greg interacted, mentored, provided career counseling, led community service activities and professional development with many graduates of the most elite universities in the US. Greg has also been the administrator of the Milken Festival for Youth from 2005 until present. The Festival for Youth helps young people improve the lives of their community members through service including environmental, intergenerational and civic activities. He graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz.
Jenny Lee joined the Foundation in May 2016 and is the Program Coordinator for the Milken Educator Awards and Milken Scholars Program. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, with a major in Psychology and minor in Psychology and Law. While completing her degree, Jenny helped establish the USC chapter of Jumpstart, an early education and reading program for preschoolers in under-resourced communities to help build their language, literacy, and social-emotional skills. Passionate about foster youth advocacy, she is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA of LA) and is a volunteer college-readiness workshop facilitator for foster youth. Jenny is a San Diego native and enjoys the beach and yoga in her free time.
Leah joined the Foundation in December 2017 and is the Program Assistant for the Milken Educator Awards & Milken Scholars. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island, with a major in Human Development and Family Studies. At the University of Rhode Island, Leah was active on campus through her sorority and volunteered at the local elementary school and a nonprofit called A Wish Come True, granting the wishes of medically qualified children. Upon graduation, Leah served with AmeriCorps’ CityYear program in San Antonio helping middle school students stay at grade level. In 2016, Leah moved to Los Angeles and worked at the local Ronald McDonald House where she developed programs to recruit and train volunteers to provide support to help keep families together. She later joined the Youth Policy Institute (YPI), where she coordinated logistics for two mentoring volunteer programs serving 400 at-risk high school youth. At YPI, she built and enhanced relationships with external nonprofits, corporations and local universities to extend the reach of the organization and increase participation among students and volunteers. Leah is a member of Junior League Los Angeles, Jewish Women International and volunteers with Make-A-Wish. Leah is very much enjoying her relocation to California. In her spare time, Leah is enjoying adventuring around Los Angeles (and beyond) and is an avid hiker, and yoga enthusiast.
Education has deep roots for Bonnie Somers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Poland to the United States in 1911 and sent six grandchildren to college. Her mother, a retired special education teacher, made a profound difference in young lives. And as a mother herself to three sons, Bonnie wants every child to have access to a great teacher!
As senior vice president of communications for the Milken Family Foundation, which she joined in 1999, Bonnie is privileged to lead a talented team in media and public affairs. She has directed several award-winning marketing and public relations campaigns, including the Milken Educator Awards notifications and the Ferne Milken Youth & Sports Complex. The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching honored Bonnie with a 2013 TAP Distinguished Service Award for her contributions to TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement.
Bonnie’s diverse background combines corporate, nonprofit and agency experience. For 12 years, she ran Somers Communications, serving clients ranging from the Los Angeles Times in Education to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Bonnie earned a B.A. at Pomona College, then a master's in public relations and an MBA from the University of Southern California, where she was named a Commerce Associates Fellow.
Hailing from a family of teachers, Jana Rausch believes that a student’s path to success starts with effective educators. She puts her beliefs into practice at the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching—chaired by Lowell Milken—where she serves as director of communications.
Jana has established over a decade of experience working with Lowell Milken’s groundbreaking education initiatives including the Milken Educator Awards under the Milken Family Foundation, and TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement and the Educator Effectiveness Best Practices Center under the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET). She plays an integral role in creating successful media campaigns, developing relationships with stakeholders and the media as well as building audiences and professional learning communities through the web and social media. In 2015, Jana received the TAP Distinguished Service Award.
Jana fostered her passion for communications, research and policy as a graduate research assistant at the University of California at Santa Barbara, then as a deputy press secretary in the U.S. Senate—which took her to Washington, D.C., and to all 14 media markets in California. She graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and French from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Born and raised in Brazil, Andressa Rogers first moved to the United States in 1998 to realize her dream of becoming a global citizen and expanding her perspective on the world. Her hunger to learn, grow and help others learn and grow, took her to San Francisco. A casual encounter with a nonprofit professional resulted in a volunteer position as a Portuguese language translator and assured her that she was moving in the right direction.
Andressa has a B.A. in Communication with a Concentration in Public Relations from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, one of the most prestigious universities in Brazil. She has also attended the University of California Extension Program in Berkeley and Los Angeles where she successfully completed public relations, journalism and writing classes. Her diverse professional experience includes working as a public relations professional at different agencies and nonprofit organizations and teaching English as a second language at several English schools in Brazil.
Andressa lives happily in Los Angeles with her husband and their adorable rescued dog. She wakes up every morning knowing that she is fortunate enough to have a job that allows her to use her professional skills to help lead advances in education, medical research and public health.
Andrew Ross joined the Milken Family Foundation Communications team in August 2015. His multiple roles include serving as communications coordinator for the Milken Educator Awards, performing research and assisting in advance work for the surprise notifications. He collaborates on projects with other initiatives such as the Milken Archive of Jewish Music and the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, managing social media for LMC’s educational documentary Teach Us All. Andrew received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, with a major in Theatre & Drama and a minor in Telecommunications. A native of South Bend, Indiana, Andrew enjoys working out and going to the beach in his free time, and is on a personal quest to find the best brunch in Los Angeles.