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Nov 30, 2012

Whose Shoulders Do You Stand On?

”Jennifer is known for her energy and high expectations.  As a large entourage of guests and media joined her in the classroom for an impromptu demonstration lesson, the energy and high expectations were immediately and pervasively evident." — Sr. Vice President of Milken Educator Awards Dr. Jane Foley


We weren’t sure if she got to take advantage of the Black Friday deals last weekend, so on Tuesday morning, Jennifer Hoffner-Turkowski received a little extra spending money for this holiday season.  In fact, the $25,000 Milken Educator Award she received could probably last her a few holiday seasons in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.  Please join us on Facebook in congratulating Jennifer and watch her YouTube video to get a peek into her school and her surprise ceremony.

While there are many more notifications to come, Jennifer was our sole honoree this week—one great educator out of the many deserving educators around this country.  As we’ve said before, we would love to honor every great educator, but that would be an impossible feat.  So it got us asking the question, can one educator make a difference?

The simple answer is yes.  Stories like Dangerous Minds are great fodder for Hollywood and we at the Milken Family Foundation absolutely know and believe in the power of an individual educator with a passion.  But if this was a test, that answer would only merit partial credit.  The more complicated answer is that no educator is an island onto himself or herself.  Mostsuccessful educators work in environments that promote a culture of success; institutions that have leadership and staff that strive to support that culture both amongst themselves and amongst the students. 

Sir Isaac Newton famously said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."  In the case of educators, those giants can be their support staff, their peers and principals, their district chiefs, elected officials, their families, their own teachers and sometimes even their students.  In honoring any one recipient with a Milken Educator Award, we hope—we believe—that we honor every giant on whose shoulders they stand.

What about you?  Whose shoulders do you stand on?  Send us your answers by replying to this email or on Facebook, and we’ll share them with everyone.


Boris Kievsky
Notifications Newsletter Editor
Manager, Online Communications and Engagement

P.S.  Keep those comments and questions coming!  Don't forget, this is yournewsletter, I just edit it.

In this newsletter:  Jennifer Hoffner (PA '12)
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