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Jan 26, 2015

The Educators’ Pledge

Students at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky, recite the Pledge of Allegiance before principal Allyson Vitato’s surprise announcement.

Dear Milken Educators and Champions of Education,

Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, politicians and public officers are sworn in, but what about educators? Do they take an oath? While no two assemblies honoring a new Milken Educator have ever been quite the same, one common element over the years has been at the very start, with students and faculty reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Perhaps, to outstanding educators, that is their oath because that’s precisely what they work for: the future of our nation, with the kind of liberty and justice for all that only comes with great education. Today, we are excited to tell you about our four newest honorees who take this pledge to heart.

Krystle Bryant (AL ’14)

Fifth-grade science teacher at Walker Elementary School in Northport, AL

Krystle Bryant

One fact about Krystle: Krystle gets students excited about science through projects that involve rapping (video), dance and acting. But she doesn’t just stop at science, Krystle incorporates math and reading lessons into her curriculum, thereby teaching three subjects at once.

Don’t miss: A “family portrait” photo with VIPs and the 13 veteran Milken Educators who came to welcome Krystle to the network.


Cagney Weaver (MS ’14)

Fourth-grade teacher at North Bay Elementary School in Biloxi, MS

Cagney Weaver

One fact about Cagney: Cagney thinks outside the box and outside the bounds of a classroom to bring lessons to life. While studying colonial America, students churned butter and made wax candles; in math, students graphed large-scale coordinate planes on clear shower curtain liners.

Don’t miss: Cagney tells us why she wanted to become an educator (video) and teach for the stars—and it has everything to do with our nation’s future.


Allyson Vitato (KY ’14)

Principal at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School in Louisville, KY

Allyson Vitato

One fact about Allyson: She seeks out community partnerships—like a communications program in conjunction with WLKY News, Bellarmine College and the Courier Journal—to leverage outside resources and bring the world of possibilities to Breckinridge-Franklin students.

Don’t miss: Allyson crediting her “family” of faculty and students (video) for their accomplishments, and they, in turn, congratulating the principal known for being a motivator. throughout the school.


Shannon Ryan (NM ’14)

Fifth-grade teacher at Lavaland Elementary School in Albuquerque, NM

Shannon Ryan

One fact about Shannon: She sets high expectations of her students and then works hard to help them achieve them. Dubbed “Wonder Woman” by colleagues, Shannon organizes the science fair and afterschool STEM programs, as well as helping with the Drama Club, Newspaper Club, and many more.

Don’t miss: Shannon’s “welcome to the family” moment (photo), which has more family than most. Both her daughter Morgan—who is a student at the school—and her father Tom Ryan, who happens to also be a veteran Milken Educator, were there! Bonus: See the moment Shannon spots her dad (video) in the crowd and the significance of the honor hits home.

We have a busy week ahead full of surprises, so we hope you’ll watch the excitement unfold and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube! For now, we thank each of you reading this for the pledge you make every day. In the words of Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken:

“The only people who develop human potential and character as a calling are educators. This puts the men and women who become teachers and principals in a position of unique power for helping to secure the future.”


Boris Kievsky
Newsletter Editor

In this newsletter:  Krystle Bryant (AL '14)Shannon Ryan (NM '14)Allyson Vitato (KY '14)Cagney Weaver (MS '14)
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