Math teacher Brooke Powers (KY ‘17) will use some of her Milken Award to take her kids on a special summer trip as thanks for attending her students’ sporting events, watching her grade papers and playing in her classroom while she preps: “It is not always easy to be a teacher’s kid.”
Katherine Watkins (TN ‘17) decided to try teaching after a chance encounter with her former AP Literature teacher at the post office: “What began as an experiment has proven to be one of the best decisions of my life.”
Aaron Ferguson (CA ‘17) credits his students’ hard work as much as his own for his Milken Award: “I tell them that success like that occurs when a bunch of talented people get together and choose to do something great.”
At his mother’s suggestion, young Ryan James (VA ‘17) spent a summer as a peer tutor. From then on, education was his number one career choice: “Whether it was as a tutor, camp counselor, resident adviser or teacher, I always felt that I connected well with younger people.” Ryan won Virginia’s 2017-18 Milken Educator Award at Richmond’s Lucille M. Brown Middle School on November 15, 2017.
When her students are distracted in the classroom by difficulties at home, math teacher Kristen Lents (IN ‘17) focuses on making learning relevant: “I strive to make connections to their lives and the real world.”
Pass Christian High School Principal Dr. Robyn Killebrew (MS ‘17) turned her surprise Milken Award celebration into a schoolwide party, complete with Twister and colored lights: “Our students know I couldn’t do what I do without them, so it was exciting to be able to celebrate together.”
Chemistry teacher Jonathan Cadena (AZ ‘17) says his Milken Educator Award has given students something to brag about and raised the profile of Tucson's Desert View High School: “We’re doing a lot of good things and people need to know about them.”
At the end of her first year of teaching, social studies teacher Valerie Baalerud (AK ‘17) learned that her position was being eliminated. Her students lobbied the school board, ferociously and successfully: “It’s a reminder of the power students have when they raise their voices.”