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Arlington ISD teacher Jennifer Fuller receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Fuller bridges the gap between high school and college 

October 18, 2017

SANTA MONICA, Calif., — Jennifer Fuller, an Arlington Collegiate High School English language arts teacher, experienced the shock of her lifetime when it was announced in front of a packed cafeteria that she was the recipient of a Milken Educator Award. The honor comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize.

Fuller is among up to 45 educators who will receive the prestigious honor during the 2017-18 season. Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley – herself a 1994 Milken Educator from Indiana – was joined by Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and Arlington Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos.

The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the "Oscars of Teaching," has been opening minds and shaping futures for 30 years. Research shows teacher quality is the driving in-school factor behind student growth and achievement. The initiative's goals are two-fold: to celebrate, elevate and activate innovators who are guiding America's next generation of leaders and to inspire young, capable people to consider teaching as a career. Milken Educators believe, "The future belongs to the educated."

"Jennifer Fuller, a master of curriculum, puts a laser focus on depth and critical thinking – skills her students need to transition to college and career," said Foley. "The high expectations she holds are reflected in the student achievement growth she sees regularly. I warmly welcome her into the national Milken Educator Network and look forward to her contributions."

About Milken Educator Jennifer Fuller
Jennifer Fuller plays a crucial role in the development of Arlington Collegiate High School, a unique four-year-old partnership with Tarrant County College. Designed for students who would not otherwise consider attending college, the school provides the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and dual-credit (up to an associate's degree) within four years. The unique campus, with 88% of students eligible for free and/or reduced lunch, creates a seamless transition between high school and college. The class of 2018 will be the first to graduate and Fuller's leadership beyond the English classroom leads to both school and individual student achievement.

Fuller continuously varies her approach to teach the essential elements of English to sophomores, and now juniors, through group work, presentations, discussions, and extensive reading and writing. Her instruction prompts critical thinking and problem solving as students explore concepts culturally relevant to their development. Fuller's collaborative strategies provide the necessary support for students to reach and excel above the academic expectations she sets. As a result, her classes have received the highest end-of-course exam scores in the district for two consecutive years. For 2016-17, the school earned a 98% passing rate versus the state average rate of 62%.

As English Department Level Leader, Fuller also serves as a site-based Decision Making Committee member, student council sponsor and Early College High School Partnership Council school representative. She is a peer coach to colleagues and conducts local and national staff development training as an AVID teacher and presenter, sharing key strategies that English and other subject teachers can employ in their classrooms. Her expertise in curriculum writing and content knowledge benefits the school as well as the Arlington Independent School District, one of the largest in the nation. Always seeking ways to close the achievement gap and make college accessible, Fuller established the African American Male Initiative at her previous campus and was influential in building a student scholarship program for AVID nationally that has raised over $1 million dollars.

Fuller earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2001 from Texas Christian University and a Master of Education from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2003.

More information about Fuller, plus links to photos and a video from today's assembly, can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at

Milken Educators are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. In addition to the $25,000 prize and public recognition, Fuller's honor includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,700 top teachers, principals and specialists dedicated to strengthening education.

In addition to participation in the Milken Educator Network, 2017-18 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum in Washington, D.C., March 20-23, 2018. Educators will have the opportunity to network with their new colleagues and hear from state and federal officials about maximizing their leadership roles to advance educator effectiveness.

More than $138 million in funding, including $68 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the overall Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional learning opportunities throughout recipients' careers. Many have gone on to earn advanced degrees and be placed in prominent posts and on state and national education committees.

The Awards alternate yearly between elementary and secondary educators. Unlike most teacher recognition programs, the Milken Educator Award is completely unique: Educators cannot apply for this recognition and do not even know they are under consideration. Candidates are sourced through a confidential selection process and then are reviewed by blue ribbon panels appointed by state departments of education. Those most exceptional are recommended for the Award, with final approval by the Milken Family Foundation.

Past recipients have used their Awards to fund their children's education or their own continuing education. Others have financed dream field trips, established scholarships and even funded the adoption of children.

To get regular updates on the surprise Milken Educator Award events, follow and use the #MilkenAward hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Milken Educator Awards tour is on social media at,,, and

For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit or call MFF at (310) 570-4772.

About the Milken Educator Awards
The very first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation 30 years ago 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.