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Oct 11, 2013

A New Identity

"We all want to welcome you to this family and we want to say thank you for what you’ve done because by your work each and every day, you are setting the future on fire."
 —Tonya Breland (NJ '06)

Dear Champions of Education,

We talk a lot about how the Milken Educator Award changes lives. This week, it was science teacher Robert O’Donnell Jr.’s turn to be “discovered.” With eight veteran educators in attendance at Christa McAuliffe School–PS 28 in Jersey City, Robert was announced by Dr. Jane Foley as our 2013 recipient for New Jersey.

So how does Robert’s life change? Of course, there’s the instant attention, throwing him into the spotlight; the love and joy of sharing it with his family, like his son Ryan, who was in the audience; the $25,000 prize which he plans to use in part to help his students; and the state and national network that he is now a part of.

Robert ODonnell smiles for the press QVgaRobert and Ryan ODonnell QVgaRobert ODonnell with vets and check QVga

Some of the attention will wane in time. The money won’t last forever either. But one thing will stay with Robert for his entire career and beyond. From today forward, Robert adds a new dimension to his identity, opening doors and reminding him at every step of the potential he has to change his students lives, help other teachers and the future of our nation.

What is this new identity? Unlike Robert’s notification, it should come as no surprise to you. You’ll want to watch the entire video, but don’t miss Robert’s simple and profound answer to this question at 2m50s.

Robert ODonnell video

While you’re on the Milken Educator Awards site, be sure to take a look at Robert’s profile to learn more about him, his passion for science and why his students cried when he won the award.

Stay tuned for more exciting news next week.

Yours truly,

Boris Kievsky
Manager, Online Communications and Engagement
Newsletter Editor

PS - This newsletter comes out on Fridays, but we break every story, video and photo gallery on our Facebook page and via Twitter first.

In this newsletter:  Robert O'Donnell Jr. (NJ '13)
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