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Feb 15, 2013

What’s Love Got To Do (with Teaching)?

“The giving of love is an education in itself” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Valentine’s Day has come to symbolize romantic love between individuals.  Every other day of the year, however, love means so much more than that: love of friends, families and, if one is incredibly fortunate, love of what they do every day.

Among those most fortunate, of course, are the great educators around this nation who wake up every morning and, regardless of what the day may have in store for them, love the fact that they get another chance to shape a child’s future.  For our latest notifications, both co-founders of the Milken Family Foundation showed their love for the future of this nation and the educators who mold it.  Mike and Lowell Milken traveled across the country to personally honor outstanding educators as they have been doing for over 25 years.

On February 6, Milken Family Foundation Co-Founder Michael Milken led the impressive delegation of dignitaries and educators that came together to surprise Jacqueline Simms of Anne Beers Elementary School in Washington D.C.  Jacqueline’s belief in her students and their potential was the impetus behind her drive to adopt a school-wide affirmation that is recited daily by the students.  Mike liked this affirmation so much, that he wanted to recite it in front of the assembly himself; and by himself is how he started, but by midway through, the entire assembly was proudly reciting it with him.  You can read the affirmation and learn about other programs Jacqueline has instituted at Anne Beers (“Cheetah Bucks!”) in her profile.  While you’re there, take a peek at the photos from the event.  And if you missed her acceptance speech video, we guarantee you’ve never heard one like this before.

Love isn’t just what gets Jacqueline through the day and looking forward to the next, it’s also a key tool in her daily interaction with children.

“One fun thing we talk about in my class is love. We talk about what it looks like, what it sounds like [and] what it feels like, and they're not afraid to express that. I want students to know that when they come to school, we're family, and that they are loved." — Jacqueline Simms (DC ’12) via The Washington Examiner

With love already in the air, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Milken Family Foundation Lowell Milken took to the air and traveled to Phoenix to make Dr. Danielle Ferreira’s Valentine’s Day a little more special.  While we won’t speculate how Danielle will spend her prize money, it’s safe to say that $25,000 can buy a lot of flowers and candy.  Of course, if candy was Danielle’s objective, she could have chosen an easier path than getting a Ph.D. in special education.  Coming from a family of educators, Danielle is now a TAP master teacher at Constitution Elementary School, clearly dedicating her life to students and fellow teachers.  While staying connected to classroom instruction by modeling lessons and team-teaching, Danielle spends a lot of her extra-curricular time on…well, the curriculum…for her school and beyond.   You can read all about her endeavors and successes on her profile page.

What drives commitment on this scale?  You might guess from the theme of this newsletter, but we’ll let Danielle speak for herself:

Dr Danielle Ferreira"The love of teaching builds momentum. We can plan our professional development, but if teachers don't feel the impact it will have on kids, the momentum will stop. I'm fortunate to work with people who create the synergy that supports the love of teaching on our campus." — Dr. Danielle Ferreira (AZ ’12)

Dr. Ferreira learned a lesson of her own during the notification: don’t turn your attention away for a second when Lowell Milken is presenting!  Otherwise, you might miss some important details—like the final zero on the end of that award sum!  Check out this photo caption to learn how it turned into a double surprise for Danielle.

Earlier this week, a former student used our website to reach out to a Milken Educator 20-plus years after being in her class to express thanks for changing her life.  You may not get that type of thank you or win a Milken Educator Award every day, but there’s a secret knowledge that you all share: your love of your profession and your students pays in multiples and dividends that few others will ever know—lifetimes of love and gratitude returned to you by your students that is worth much more than any financial prize.

Congratulations to Jacqueline Simms, Danielle Ferreira and all great educators on following your passion and doing what you love. 


Boris Kievsky
Notifications Newsletter Editor
Manager, Online Communications and Engagement

P.S. — My alternative to a post-Valentine’s Day newsletter was going to be a pre-Presidents Day one.  Since I went with the first idea, let me still wish you all a happy Presidents Day and take a moment to acknowledge that the next great president of this nation may be a boy or girl in your class today.  Thank you for your love and guidance of our nation’s future leaders.


In this newsletter:  Dr. Danielle Ferreira (AZ '12)Jacqueline A. Simms (DC '12)
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