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Dec 1, 2014

Thanking and Giving to Educators

Dr. Jane Foley (IN ’94) gets some help from students and Niskayuna Central School District Interim Superintendent John Yagielski in demonstrating how the Milken Family Foundation says “thank you” to outstanding educators.

Dear Educators and Champions of Education,

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, full of family, friends and feasts. Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays at the Milken Educator Awards because it represents (quite literally) much of what we stand for: saying “thanks” to the talented educators around the nation and “giving” them the recognition they deserve. We did just that for three more inspiring individuals in New York, South Carolina and Tennessee over the last few weeks. 

Roseann Maurantonio (NY ’14)

Roseann Maurantonio with Dr John King Jr Our first new recipient, Roseann Maurantonio of Rosendale Elementary in the Niskayuna Central School District, likened her Milken Educator Award surprise to the day her husband proposed (video). Thanked Milken Educator Awards-style by Dr. Jane Foley (IN ’94), the fourth-grade English Language Arts instructor is known for helping her students make up to two years’ worth of gains in reading scores. According to New York Commissioner of Education Dr. John B. King, Jr.—who was all smiles at the assembly (photos)—the Award will give Roseann the opportunity to use her own language skills to share her knowledge with the New York State education system!

Melonee Ginn (SC ’14)

Melonee Ginn Next, National Institute for Excellence in Teaching President and Milken Educator Dr. Gary Stark (AR ’01) traveled to the South Carolina Lowcountry to surprise Melonee Ginn of Hampton Elementary School. A former student of the school, Melonee was emotional and humbled when she accepted her award but she had plenty of understanding company. Seven Milken Educators (photos) were on hand to welcome Melonee to the family. One of them was her principal, Bonnie J. Wilson (SC ’08), who had some great things to say about what it means to be a Milken Educator (video) to Melonee and all our newest recipients.

Nicole Castile (TN ’14)

Nicole Castile and Gary Stark Dr. Gary Stark’s next stop was Clarksville, Tennessee, where he surprised outstanding educator Nicole Castile (video) with 25,000 reasons to be extra thankful this holiday. Norman Smith Elementary School put on what may be one of our most spirited assemblies this year (photos). Every student in attendance declared their goals for this year with signs and headbands. Even the teachers took part with their goals and encouragement for the students. Appropriately, Nicole’s sign read “never give up,” which is her own motto when it comes to reaching every student in her class.

Of course, demonstrating gratitude for the life-changing gifts of outstanding teachers is not limited to a date or season. We can’t wait to do it again this week! Make sure you follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to be in on the surprise and help us say “thank you” to the new Milken Educators.


Boris Kievsky
Manager of Online Communications and Engagement

In this newsletter:  Nicole Castile (TN '14)Melonee Ginn Mattie (SC '14)Roseann Maurantonio (NY '14)
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