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Oct 16, 2015

New Faces

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Dear Milken Educators and Champions of Education,

The Milken Educator Awards season is starting off strong and busy. Our team traveled up and down the East Coast this week, with stops in New Jersey, Rhode Island and North Carolina to honor amazing educators in front of their students, colleagues, and state and district officials.

Every stop is a little different: city or country, uniforms or t-shirts, gymnasium vs. auditorium, drum corps or choir or marching band or cheerleaders. But three things remain consistent (and inspiring) at every Milken Award notification: the element of surprise, the standing ovation from students bursting with pride, and the unwavering certainty that the teacher getting the award absolutely loves his or her job.

Here's a little bit about each of this week's recipients. Click through to our photo galleries and videos for more – it's as close as you'll come to having been there. And take a look at the slew of articles and TV segments local media in each city have published, posted and aired. When a local teacher gets a prestigious Milken Educator Award, that's a story they shout from the rooftops.

Kimberly Moreno (NJ '15)

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Union City High School health sciences teacher Kimberly Moreno thought the state and district dignitaries gathering with students and faculty in the gym were there to honor the school for its college and career readiness. "I told all my students, 'Wear your scrubs today - show them who you are and how hard you've worked,'" she says. Instead, Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken presented her with the New Jersey 2015-16 Milken Award, including the oversized $25,000 check. Moreno is the school's advisor for HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) and has been instrumental in helping her students enter local, state and national health competitions in which they routinely receive local awards and prizes. The program she pioneered in conjunction with Rutgers University gives students college credit and EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certification upon graduation. Photo gallery | Video

Kendra Borden (RI '15)

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English teacher Kendra Borden believes that "those doing the talking are doing the learning. "It shows in her classroom, where students often work standing or on top of their desks (yes, really). Borden sets tough but achievable goals for her students, focusing on data-driven tactics for improvement. And her methods work: Borden's students made a 47-point gain in scaled reading scores last year, and schoolwide writing scores increased 14% during Borden's two-year leadership with the school's writing curriculum committee. Borden's shy smile told the whole story at her surprise notification ceremony at Samuel Slater Junior High in Pawtucket. Photo gallery | Video

Eric Patin (NC '15)

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Eric Patin grew up as one of 10 children on a dairy farm and learned the value of hard work from his parents. Standing in front of the students, faculty and guests at Thursday morning's Milken Educator Award ceremony at Chatham Central High School, Patin credited his family with his success. "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard," he said. Patin is particularly proud of his work with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a program that seeks to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college. All 20 of his first-year AVID students who graduated were accepted to at least one four-year college and amassed more than $3 million in scholarships. At their graduation, each of those students referenced Patin's influence as an important factor in their accomplishments. And yes, we know there's a smile hiding behind that beard. Photo gallery | Video

#MyTeacherRocks Instagram Contest

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DON'T FORGET! We need your help spreading the word about our #MyTeacherRocks Instagram contest, where students who post selfies with their teachers can win $500 for their classrooms. Click here for details on how to enter.

Question of the week: What classroom activities are you planning for Election Day? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or by email. We may use your answers for an article in the Connections section of our website.

Erika Penzer Kerekes
Social Media and Online Content Manager | 310-570-4771

In this newsletter:  Kendra Borden (RI '15)Dr. Kimberly Moreno (NJ '15)Eric Patin (NC '15)
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