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Idaho Teacher Receives National Milken Educator Award and $25,000 Cash Prize

White Pine Charter School teacher among up to 40 educators nationwide honored for excellence in education

November 30, 2022

Ammon, Idaho, — White Pine Charter School burst into thunderous applause today when first grade teacher Anna Attebury was surprised with the Milken Educator Award. The national honor is bestowed upon a select group of K-12 educators across the country for excellence in education. Presented by the Milken Family Foundation, the Award includes a $25,000 cash prize that Attebury can use however she chooses. 

Milken Family Foundation Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher presented the Award with Idaho State Department of Education Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra at a schoolwide assembly in front of cheering students, colleagues, local and state dignitaries, and the media. Attebury joins the Milken Educator Network of more than 2,900 outstanding educators and leaders from across the country dedicated to strengthening K-12 education. 

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 is announced. 

"Anna Attebury demonstrates the qualities of a Milken Educator through her dedication to her students, colleagues and school. I am pleased to celebrate her today with this well-deserved Award," said Gallagher. "Anna is a proven, innovative leader who holds high standards for her students and herself. This is evident in her students' charted growth in learning and her enthusiasm for her craft. We welcome Anna to the Milken Educator Network and look forward to her contributions as we 'Celebrate, Elevate and Activate' the teaching profession."

The Awards will honor up to 40 elementary educators in the 2022-23 school year. 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. 

"In her teaching and leadership, Anna Attebury exemplifies our goals for Idaho elementary students, from literacy and STEM skills to positive behavior," Superintendent Ybarra said. "Her energetic, project-based approach clearly works: During the 2021-22 school year, her first-graders averaged 127% growth in reading achievement and 111% growth in math. She also leads an after-school STEM club for grades 1 through 5, exploring everything from 3D printing to computer coding and drones. Plus, she heads up White Pine's Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports team, mentors new teachers and works with students who have learning disabilities. She's amazing, and it's no wonder she has earned this remarkable award." Ybarra continued, "It's a wonderful affirmation of the quality and commitment of Idaho’s teachers, especially since this marks the third year in a row that an Idaho teacher has been chosen as a Milken Educator." 

"We're a relatively small charter school system, and we have to do things differently – better," said Ron Cote, executive director of White Pine Charter Schools. "Anna fits our system perfectly, with a focus on the whole student, not just academics. She's nimble like charter schools need to be: See a problem, fix a problem. And, she embodies our focus on whole student formation: teaching to high academic standards, guiding good citizenship, and making sure the kids are OK in their lives. Anna's selection for this fantastic honor is awe-inspiring yet not surprising: It reflects the kind of teacher she is, the kind of teachers we appreciate, and the kind of teachers in our system. I believe I can speak for White Pine in saying 'we are proud of her'." 

More About Anna Attebury 

Students Steeped in STEM: Anna Attebury's first grade students are immersed in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM), where they learn about human anatomy by building models of the different body systems—respiratory, circulatory, muscular, etc.—in layers on life-sized, people-shaped cutouts. As the leader of the after-school STEM club at White Pine Elementary, Attebury explores coding, works with drones, uses 3D printers and completes Engineering Design Challenges. In 2020, the STEM club students submitted a drone video to Idaho's National Laboratory Earth Day competition. She makes sure her instructional time is engaging and challenging by balancing setting clear expectations with encouraging students to explore concepts and find their own path to solutions. Attebury holds high expectations for herself and her students and looks for opportunities to promote systemic improvement and share best practices. Adept at creating powerful and lasting relationships with her students and their families, Attebury is known as a strong advocate for and positive influence on her students and colleagues as well. 

Leadership and Professional Development: Attebury coordinates the school's Core Knowledge curriculum, leads professional development and organizes Core Knowledge Night to showcase themed grade levels and classrooms, performances, training opportunities, and student projects and displays. She pivoted to make this important event virtual earlier in the pandemic, allowing families to participate in the school community from their homes. Attebury leads White Pine Elementary's Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team, is a member of the director of schools' leadership team, works with students with learning disabilities and mentors new teachers. 

Education: Attebury is a graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho. She earned a bachelor's in English in 2004 and a bachelor's in political science in 2012.

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 


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