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Mar 5, 2014

How Far Do You Go to Make a Difference?

“Why did I travel here? The message was to tell you and remind everyone in the world that the future for a city, a state, a country lies in the classrooms of those cities, states and countries…and of the critical role that teachers and principals play in our society.”

— Milken Family Foundation Co-Founder Mike Milken to the students of Baltimore City College HS

Dear Champions of Education,

It was an exciting Oscars week at the Milken Family Foundation. We didn’t break any twitter records like Ellen DeGeneres, but we may have set a new record—over 9,700 miles—for distance spanned to surprise outstanding educators with the “Oscars of Teaching,” as Teacher Magazine kindly referred to us. In our travels, we found and honored teachers who have had their own journeys and will go to any lengths to help their students.

Mark MiazgaOn Thursday (February 27), Milken Family Foundation Co-Founder Mike Milken and the Awards crew went to the third oldest school in the country, Baltimore City College High School in Maryland. There, they got some help from Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian M. Lowery to honor English teacher and varsity baseball coach Mark Miazga. Mark doesn’t travel far to get to work, but he makes a world of difference. As he tells us in the video: “Every morning when I drive up that hill up to City College, I just feel like, OK, I can change the world a little bit today.”

Learn more about Mark Miazga (MD ’13), see the photos, videos and news stories >>


Elizabeth GalinisOn Friday, Mike Milken presented the Award to science teacher Elizabeth Galinis in Alexandria, VA. Elizabeth has only been teaching for five years, but in that time she has had a tremendous impact at Hayfield Secondary School, making her classes a “must-take” among students. The journey Elizabeth has traveled to make this difference on students’ futures wasn’t vast in as-the-crow-flies distance, but her move from working at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, to inspiring students with her love of science is just as remarkable; so much so, that Mike Milken asked her about the reasoning behind the switch. Still shaking with emotion, Elizabeth gave an answer that will surely resonate with all of you.

Learn more about Elizabeth Galinis (VA '13), see the photos, video and news stories >>


Michelle KayFor Monday’s notification, the Milken Educator Awards crew traveled from Virginia to the furthest point possible within the U.S.—Honolulu, HI—to say “aloha” to a special science teacher. Dr. Jane Foley (IN ’94) got some help from Governor Neil Abercrombie (and 15 Milken Educators) to announce this year’s addition to the Hawaii Milken Educator Network, Michelle Kay. Michelle wasn’t sure she was making the right move when she decided to move to Hawaii from her home in Illinois. But as she told the assembly as she accepted her award, she has not only found her home there, she has been able to follow her true calling to be a teacher who cares and goes above and beyond to help all students.

Learn more about Michelle Kay (HI '13), see the photos, video and news stories >>

While Oscar season officially ended with the telecast on Sunday, the Milken Educator Awards season continues to open envelopes and celebrate the achievements of outstanding educators around the nation. As long as educators are willing to go to great lengths, we will travel any distance to honor them.

Boris Kievsky
Newsletter Editor
Manager, Online Communications and Engagement
Milken Family Foundation


In this newsletter:  Elizabeth (Galinis) Cannon (VA '13)Michelle Kay (HI '13)Mark Miazga (MD '13)
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