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Oct 23, 2015

"This Is All I've Ever Wanted to Do"

Kendra Borden (RI '15) says she always knew she wanted a career in the classroom: "I dreamed about it since I was a little kid." Watch her accept her Milken Educator Award at Samuel Slater Junior High in Pawtucket in this short video.

Dear Milken Educators and Champions of Education,

This week the Milken Educator Awards team toured the Midwest, surprising English teacher Gina Benz in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and science teacher Courtney Matulka in Omaha, Nebraska.

At both assemblies, Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley told the kids that the Milken Awards exist because we believe teachers have the most important job in the nation: nurturing the minds and hearts of millions of young people, preparing them for productive lives. The way the tweens and teens cheer for their beloved teachers each time we announce a new Milken Educator, we know our message is getting through.

Click through to our photo galleries and videos for more information about this week's Milken Educator Award winners.

Gina Benz Milken Award reaction

Education may be in Gina Benz's blood: Her grandmother once taught in a one-room schoolhouse on the South Dakota prairie. Having grown up in a remote part of the state with limited educational options, Benz now runs the AP program at Roosevelt High School, where 76% of AP students receive passing grades on AP exams (well above the national average). A few have even earned enough AP credits to enter college as juniors! Photo gallery | Video

Cookies and board games in a middle school science classroom? Courtney Matulka is known for finding creative ways to get kids excited about science. She teaches them about mining by "excavating" the chocolate chips from cookies and introduces types of energy matter via Pictionary. A captivating high school history teacher inspired Matulka to pursue a career in education, but she chose science because "I wanted to be part of helping students to love all the innovation and change that's all around them everywhere." Photo gallery | Video

#MyTeacherRocks Instagram Contest

We love this entry from @maddiepeterrson into our #MyTeacherRocks Instagram contest:
#MyTeacherRocks Instagram contest
"Ms.Wittgren is the best teacher ever because she looks out for every student! Whenever I'm lost in class she helps me catch up and she will not move on until she knows we understand. She is so encouraging and happy and always brings smiles to every student's face. She never fails to come up with cool and unique lessons to help us learn and memorize English. Thanks to Ms.Wittgren for being so awesome I can enjoy English!!!!"

We'd love your help spreading the word about #MyTeacherRocks, where selfies like this one can win $500 for the teacher's classroom. Click here for details on how to enter.

NEED YOUR OPINION: We're considering creating a Facebook Group to help you stay connected with other Milken Educators around the U.S. Would you find that useful? We'd love your thoughts. Tell us on FacebookTwitter or by email. 

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

In this newsletter:  Gina Benz (SD '15)Kendra Borden (RI '15)Courtney Matulka (NE '15)
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