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Angela Fowler of Johnson County, Indiana, Receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award
Fowler is the first Milken Educator Award recipient from Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation
November 22, 2022
Santa Monica, Calif., — At Grassy Creek Elementary School in Greenwood, Indiana, Angela Fowler commands her room of fourth grade math students with high energy, high-impact lessons and high expectations. It is no wonder that students are achieving high growth as a result.
Today, enthusiasm was at an all-time high when a routine school assembly turned into the surprise of a lifetime: Fowler was named a national Milken Educator Award recipient surrounded by students, colleagues, state and local dignitaries, and media. Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley and Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner presented Fowler with the prestigious recognition, which includes an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. She will join the 2022 class of up to 40 elementary educators nationwide to be recognized by the Milken Family Foundation this school year.
"Exceptional educators engage their students through creativity and leadership, and Angela Fowler embodies these qualities in her classroom each day," said Dr. Foley, who is herself a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator. "Her care and compassion create an environment where every student feels welcomed, valued and motivated to learn. I am proud to welcome Angela into our Milken Educator Award family and look forward to the contributions she will bring to our national network."
Fowler is the first recipient from the Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation. In addition to today's celebration, the Award carries lifelong benefits: Fowler will join the national Milken Educator Network of more than 2,900 outstanding educators and leaders dedicated to strengthening K-12 education.
"Miss Angela Fowler's passion for her students shines as she continuously leads innovative work to help her students to build math skills," said Dr. Jenner. "Whether she's engaging with families during a math night, helping students build their confidence through the Girls on the Run club, or mentoring new teachers, Angela is constantly leading work that positively impacts our students' futures. Great teachers change lives, and there’s no doubt that Angela is changing lives for the better, both inside and outside the classroom."
Hailed as the "Oscars of Teaching," Milken Educator Awards inspire and uplift with the unique stories of educators making a profound difference for students, colleagues and communities. The specific states and schools on this year’s winners’ list remain a closely guarded secret until each Award is announced.
Over the past 35 years, more than $140 million in funding, including more than $73 million in individual Awards, has been devoted to the overall Milken Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients' careers.
"Miss Fowler is a shining example of what our teachers can accomplish each day and the profound impact they have on students and communities," said Dr. Patrick Spray, superintendent of Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation. "The Milken Award is reserved as a very prestigious award for educators across the United States and we are very proud that one of our teachers was honored by this award."
More About Angela Fowler
Deepening Understanding of Math Concepts and Promoting Higher-Order Thinking: At Grassy Creek Elementary in Greenwood, Indiana, fourth graders love talking about math thanks to Angela Fowler. Her "number talks" help students understand number patterns and find different ways to solve problems. Fowler incorporates the "I do, we do, you do" strategy and breaks the class into groups based on levels of understanding, continuously reviewing data and rearranging groups accordingly. She uses a wide range of visual models to build understanding of math concepts and differentiates her practice to address each student's needs. In turn, students' fluency with math concepts soars: Last year, Fowler's students grew from 8% mastery at the beginning of the year to 54% by the end.
Supporting Schoolwide Advancement: Fowler seeks out best practices, looking to improve her own instruction through webinars, podcasts and coaching. She has served as grade-level chair, sits on Grassy Creek's Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team, leads the school's math professional learning community (PLC) and has delivered professional development and workshops on how students learn mathematical concepts. Fowler mentors new teachers and is committed to helping them grow and build their skills.
Classroom Inclusion: Fowler understands that relationships are key to student success and works with colleagues to meet the needs of all students, including those with individualized learning and language plans. She provides inclusion services to students with emotional disabilities, incorporating them in her classroom's community circle time, joining them for lunch, and making sure they are included at recess. Fowler goes to great lengths to connect with families, sharing what and how their children are doing in class and strategies for supporting their learning at home. She planned a math night for families, similar to what Grassy Creek has done for reading in the past, to introduce parents to the recently adopted math curriculum.
Community Impact: As the sponsor for Grassy Creek's Girls on the Run club, Fowler is a role model for positivity, being a lifelong learner and embracing a growth mindset. She was not a runner before starting the club, but she built her own running skills alongside the 20-plus girls in the program to set the example, culminating in a 120-mile relay. Fowler also co-chairs the school's "Riley Week" fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children in downtown Indianapolis. Activities include a "Talls vs. Smalls" basketball game and an annual all-school rock-paper-scissors tournament. The week's events, which last year raised more than $3,000, also include testimonials from families whose children have been treated at Riley, helping students understand the importance of philanthropy.
Education: Fowler earned a bachelor's in elementary education with a concentration in mathematics in 2015 from Ball State University.
More About the Milken Educator Awards: "The future belongs to the educated."
Along with the financial prize, recipients join the national Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,900 top teachers, principals and specialists. The network serves as a rich resource for fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others dedicated to excellence in education.
- The honorees will also attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles in April 2023, where they will network with their new colleagues as well as veteran Milken Educators and other education leaders about how to increase their impact on K-12 education.
- In addition, they will learn about how to become involved in the Milken Friends Forever (MFF) mentoring program, in which new Milken Educators receive personalized coaching and support from a Milken Educator veteran on ways to elevate their instructional practice and take an active role in educational leadership, policy and practice.
- Veteran Milken Educators demonstrate a wide range of leadership roles at state, national and international levels.
- "We find you. You don't find us!' Unlike most teacher recognition programs, the Milken Educator Awards initiative has no formal nomination or application process. Candidates are sourced through a confidential selection process and then reviewed by blue ribbon panels in each state. The most exceptional candidates are recommended for the Award, with final selection made by the Milken Family Foundation.
- The $25,000 cash Award is unrestricted. Recipients have used the money in diverse ways. For instance, some have spent the funds on their children's or their own continuing education, financing dream field trips, establishing scholarships, and even adopting children.
To receive regular updates on the surprise Milken Educator Award events or to watch the Award events unfold, follow and use the #MilkenAward hashtag on Facebook (@MilkenEducatorAwards), Twitter (@Milken), YouTube (/MilkenAward), Instagram (MilkenFamilyFdn), and TikTok (@MilkenAward).
For more information, visit MilkenEducatorAwards.org or call the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4772.
About the Milken Educator Awards
The first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. The Awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. The initiative was created by the Milken Family Foundation, which celebrates 40 years of elevating education in America and around the world. Learn more at MFF.org