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Blackstone Valley Prep Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Governor Chafee and State Commissioner of Education Gist joined in the presentation of Rhode Island’s 2013 "Oscar of Teaching"

November 08, 2013

Marielle Emet, a fifth-grade mathematics teacher at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy in Lincoln, Rhode Island, was surprised with an unrestricted $25,000 Milken Educator Award, at a school-wide assembly. This prestigious 2013 honor, the only one to be presented in Rhode Island, will be bestowed upon up to 40 of America’s most outstanding secondary school educators.

“Our public education system is at the heart of America’s promise and essential to safeguarding the American dream for future generations,” said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation.  “With research confirming that effective teachers represent the single most important school-related factor in raising student achievement, it is important to honor them, learn from them, and inspire more capable people to enter the profession.  As the program’s motto extols, the future belongs to the educated.”

About the Award Recipient

While many educators prefer the relative comfort of suburban schools, Marielle Emet’s drive to teach in a diverse urban environment led her to become a founding faculty member at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy (BVP) in Lincoln, Rhode Island.  As academic dean and a fifth-grade math teacher at the public charter school, Emet is instrumental in closing achievement gaps among various demographic groups and raising success levels for all.

Emet was a Teach for America (TFA) 2006 Baltimore corps member and continued to teach history-related subjects at her placement high school for four years, before moving to Rhode Island.  At Blackstone Valley Prep, she switched her subject focus to middle school math.

With her curriculum aligned to Common Core standards, Emet utilizes differentiated instruction to engage all learners.  She created the Academy’s Response to Intervention strategy to deal positively and proactively with the highest need students. She connects with parents and meets with students after school and on weekends—whatever it takes to propel “scholars” forward.  And the results are a testament to her effectiveness:  According to the New England Common Assessment Program scores, BVP had Rhode Island’s highest growth rates in math with 92% of students demonstrating growth. From 2010 to 2012, math gains in grades 5 to 7 were a remarkable 44 points.

Extending her impact beyond the classroom through her role as academic dean, Emet assists both new and seasoned colleagues to continually evaluate and increase their classroom effectiveness.  She reviews lesson plans weekly with early career teachers and leads professional development at BVP, even hosting faculty meetings at her home. She visits other schools to continually expand her repertoire of best practices and, in return, shares her own professional development expertise at district and state levels.  Thanks to her professional leadership and dedication to every student, educator Marielle Emet helps set colleagues and young people alike on a path to 21st century success.


The Milken Educator Awards, conceived by Lowell Milken to attract, retain and motivate outstanding talent to the teaching profession, is the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program, dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine. Since 1987, the Milken Family Foundation, co-founded by Michael and Lowell Milken, has devoted more than $136 million in funding to the Milken Educator Awards, including over $64 million in individual Awards to nearly 2,600 recipients plus powerful professional development opportunities and networking with leading education stakeholders.

Rhode Island Educators

Rhode Island joined the Milken Educator Awards program in 1990.
$1,775,000 cash awards presented to 72 Rhode Island Milken Educator Award recipients

For More Information

Milken Educator Awards Website:
Rhode Island Department of Education Website:
Rhode Island Mayoral Academies Network Website:
Milken Family Foundation Website:
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Education reform leader Lowell Milken created the Milken Educator Awards to recognize exemplary teachers and established the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) to generate more talented teachers, NIET operates TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement and the Best Practices Center. Lowell Milken recently provided the founding gift for the UCLA School of Law’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy. For more information about Lowell visit