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Nov 20, 2015

"I love teaching. I love our community."

How does Nick Williams drill science facts into his students' heads at San Marin High School? Unlike most science teachers, he raps. Watch his Physics Rap - you'll never forget Newton's first law again.

Dear Milken Educators and Champions of Education,

Four more amazing teachers joined the Milken Educator family this week: Nicki Derryberry and Brittany Matsushino in Arizona, and Nick Williams and Matt Harvey in California. 

When Lowell Milken presents the Awards, he always stresses that they're not lifetime achievement awards — they represent both recognition for what the new Milken Educators have already accomplished and the expectation that they will go on to make even greater contributions.

Nick Williams was focused on the future when he talked with reporters after his surprise Award assembly at San Marin High School in Novato. "I love teaching. I love our community," he told the cameras. "I'm proud of what we've done so far. But I believe that I can do better....I believe that we can do better."

Don't miss our photo galleries and videos for more information about this week's Milken Educator Award winners.

Nicki Derryberry addresses assembly

As the STEM coordinator at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Nicki Derryberry has had a huge impact: After her first year at the school, every one of her students passed the Career and Technical Bioscience state exam, outscoring the rest of the district and showing a 15% gain over the previous class. Derryberry says her $25,000 Milken Award will stay at the school. "I'm excited to talk to my students and figure out what projects we can work on using the money that we were awarded," she told National Public Radio's KJZZPhoto gallery | Video

Ask any student which teacher at Vail's Cienega High School has the most school spirit, and they'll undoubtedly point to Brittany Matsushino. In addition to preparing her 10th-grade English students so well for more advanced classes that colleagues remark upon it, Matsushino is a student council teacher — in fact, she unwittingly decorated the gym for her own surprise Milken Educator Award ceremony. In her short speech to the assembly, she thanked the school for introducing her to her husband of two years, who is Cienega High's band director. Photo gallery | Video

Getting students excited about science: That's the number one priority for Nick Williams, head of the science and engineering department at San Marin High School in Novato. In addition to his famous science raps, he brings in engineers, scientists and professors from the community to collaborate with students on projects like building greenhouses, creating musical instruments and designing green storage spaces. Photo gallery | Video

Matt Harvey (CA '15)

Matt Harvey at CORE Butte High School

How does math teacher Matt Harvey know he's having an impact on the students at CORE Butte High School in Chico? For one thing, the school now has two sections of Math 3 — and they're both full. Harvey is also working with Butte Community College to implement the school's Medical Sciences CTE (Career and Technical Education) pathway. Students, parents and colleagues consider Harvey a go-to guy who identifies problems and then rolls up his sleeves and fixes them. "You have to be passionate about [teaching]," Harvey told reporters after his surprise Award ceremony. "Kids can sense when you're faking it." Photo gallery | Video

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

In this newsletter:  Nicki Derryberry (AZ '15)Matthew Harvey (CA '15)Brittany Matsushino (AZ '15)Nick Williams (CA '15)
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