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National $25,000 Milken Educator Award Goes to Greeley Hometown Honoree

Caleb Flores surprised with "Oscar of Teaching" at Greeley West High School for dedication to school leadership and student success

December 15, 2023

Santa Monica, Calif.  Born and bred in Greeley, Colorado, Caleb Flores spends each day giving back to the community that raised him. An English language arts (ELA), reading and Culturally Linguistically Diverse (CLD) teacher at Greeley West High School, Flores works to ensure that all students have equitable access to the educational resources they need. He helps many new students and English Language Learners (ELLs) navigate the learning curve that is high school. Flores' lifelong commitment to education reached far beyond the Greeley community today when he was surprised with a $25,000 Milken Educator Award and recognized nationally as a model within the American K-12 teaching profession.

Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley was joined by Colorado Commissioner of Education Susana Córdova to present Flores with the prestigious Award at an all-school assembly in front of cheering students, colleagues, dignitaries and media. The surprises kept coming as Flores was presented with his unrestricted $25,000 check — and the realization that he is the sole Colorado 2023-24 Milken Educator Award recipient. 

"Caleb Flores serves as a leader, role model and advocate for students in the classroom, school and community," said Dr. Foley, who is a Milken Educator herself from Indiana's 1994 class. "His welcoming nature and ability to pinpoint every learner's needs are vital to the growth of all students. Caleb's passion to elevate education will be in great company within the Milken Educator Network, a nationwide group of fellow recipients ready to celebrate their newest connection. Congratulations, Caleb."

Flores is the first Milken Educator Award recipient in Greeley-Evans School District 6 since 2005. He is one of up to 75 recipients across the country that will be honored in 2023-24 as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator. Hailed as the "Oscars of Teaching," 2023-24 will reach $75 million in individual financial prizes spanning the length of the initiative and more than $144 million invested in the Milken Educator Award national network overall, empowering recipients to "Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate" the K-12 profession and inspiring young, capable people to pursue teaching as a career.

"Congratulations to Caleb Flores for being named a Milken Educator," said Commissioner of Education Susana Córdova. "His unwavering dedication to fostering equitable and culturally diverse education is truly commendable. Mr. Flores is an example of the transformative power educators have, and we are proud to celebrate his accomplishments."

Flores was completely unaware of his candidacy for the Award. Recipients are sought out while early to mid-career for what they have achieved – and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities afforded by the Award.

More About Caleb Flores

Advocating for Equitable Education: New students at Greeley West High School can count on English language arts (ELA), reading and Culturally Linguistically Diverse (CLD) teacher Caleb Flores to greet them with his kindness, warmth and enthusiasm. Recognizing the challenges that students who are English Language Learners (ELLs) face while navigating high school, Flores sets out every day to ensure all students have equitable access to the resources they need to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. He helps to identify whether new students are English learners through the administration and organization of World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) screeners. With Greeley West being an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Demonstration School, Flores works as a co-teacher with the ninth grade English team to provide diligent and differentiated lesson plans that align to both IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) curriculum and state academic standards. 

Striving for Instructional Growth: In addition to his positive results in the classroom, Flores' strong work ethic and collaborative mindset shine in his role as a mentor teacher to new hires at Greeley West. As an Equity team leader, Flores led a team of 15 teachers to pilot an asset-based classroom rubric — developed by district leaders and the Colorado Department of Education — intended to expand teachers' skills in creating rigorous lessons. This year, Flores continues this work and is leading a larger team of teachers.

Supporting Students of All Backgrounds: As a Colorado native and lifelong Greeley resident, Flores serves as a role model for students of all backgrounds at Greeley West. Fluent in Spanish, he helps dissipate language barriers across the curriculum, allowing him to hold his students to high standards, while listening to and advocating for their evolving academic and personal needs. Flores is known for his positive communication with families and has served as a family and community liaison at the community college and in the high school. He also interacts with students outside of school in his new role as a middle school football coach. 

Education: Flores is a two-time University of Northern Colorado graduate, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2016 and a Master of Arts in educational leadership and policy studies in 2021.

More about the Milken Educator Award Journey: "The Future Belongs to the Educated"

  • The honorees attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles in June 2024, where they will network with their new colleagues as well as veteran Milken Educators and other education leaders about how to broaden their impact on K-12 education.
  • Honorees receive powerful mentorship opportunities for expanded leadership roles that strengthen education practice and policy. Milken Friends Forever (MFF) pairs a new recipient with a veteran Milken Educator mentor; the Expanding MFF Resource and Explorer Program fosters individual veteran Milken Educator partnerships around a specific topic area; and Activating Milken Educators (AME) promotes group collaboration in and across states to tackle pressing educational needs.
  • Veteran Milken Educators demonstrate a wide range of leadership roles at state, national and international levels.
  • The $25,000 cash Award is unrestricted. Recipients have used the money in diverse ways. Some recipients have spent the funds on their children's or their own continuing education, financing dream field trips, establishing scholarships, and even adopting children. 

Follow the Milken Educator Awards tour and use the #MEA3K and #MilkenAward hashtags on: Facebook (MilkenEducatorAwards) | X (Milken) | YouTube (MilkenAward) | Instagram (MilkenFamilyFdn) | LinkedIn (MilkenFamilyFdn) | TikTok (MilkenAward).

Visit or call the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4772 for more information.

About the Milken Educator Awards
The first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. Created by Lowell Milken, 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 Milken Family Foundation celebrates more than 40 years of elevating education in America and around the world. Learn more at