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Oct 26, 2012

Making a Difference to Those Who Make a Difference

Photos (L-R): Sara Ward (ID ’12) with students; Dr. Jane Foley (IN ’94) welcoming Gus Carlson (NH ‘12) earlier this month.

This week, Dr. Gary Stark, president and CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) and a 2001 Milken Educator from Arkansas, took to the notifications campaign trail.  Gary traveled to Idaho to welcome our newest recipient: Sara Ward of Lakevue Elementary School in Nampa.  Sara is a third grade teacher with a first-rate devotion to education.  In her quiver of arrows that make learning fun, her game of “Beat the Boss” has hit the bull’s eye with students from around the school.  Sara is also a mentor to other educators and, in a sense, to herself.  It’s often said that teachers learn as much from their students as vice versa, and Sara takes that to heart.  Always looking to better her teaching skills, she keeps a daily journal that she reviews regularly to reinforce her own lessons from the classroom.  Accepting her Milken Educator Award, Sara was quick to share the spotlight with her district, its leaders and her students past, present and future.

Educators like Sara work tirelessly and often against great odds to make a lasting difference in the lives of their students.  So we asked Dr. Jane Foley—herself a recipient (IN ’94) and now our Senior Vice President of the Milken Educator Awards, not to mention awards presenter extraordinaire—for her observations on the difference that the Milken Educator Awards have made on the lives of these deserving teachers.  Here are her thoughts and just a few comments representative of what she has encountered this month:

Celebrate, Elevate, Activate.  As I travel around the country and meet the new recipients and spend time with veterans and those that received the Award just last year, I am struck by the powerful impact and motivation that the Award immediately impresses upon every Milken Educator and how it is sustained over time.” 

— Dr. Jane Foley (IN ‘94)

The Award provides a new and ongoing positive pressure to push yourself to improve your professional practices.

— Scott DeVries (CO ’99)

The Award gave me confidence to ‘step up to the plate’ and be a voice for students and the profession.” 

— Jillian Brickley (NH ’10)

I am just now catching up with all the emails I've received in regards to the Milken Award. What an amazing day. Thank you for an unforgettable and joyous experience.“ 

— Barth Quenzer (CO ‘12)

The Award made me realize and reminds me that it is OK to be proud of being a teacher.” 

— Michael Andersen (NH ’04)

Since receiving the award in 1999, each time I have the opportunity to attend a notification for the new class, it has been an emotional and exhilarating reliving of my own notification.  I suspect it will always be that way – such a special feeling and honor.” 

— Gary Batsell (AZ ’99)

We’d love to hear your stories and thoughts on the difference the Milken Educator Award has made in your life.  Please share them with us on Facebook and Twitter, where you can also get updates throughout the week; and subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest surprise videos—several coming next week!

Watch Sara's reaction and acceptance speech!

sara ward acceptance


In this newsletter:  Sara Ward (ID '12)
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