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CORE Butte Charter School Math Teacher Surprised with Milken Educator Award and $25,000 in Cash

Matthew Harvey is the Second Teacher to Win the Prestigious Prize Today in California; Only Two Teachers in the State Picked for the Award This Year

November 18, 2015

SANTA MONICA, CAMatt Harvey has been at CORE Butte Charter School for a little over one year but he’s already proved that he’s the kind of teacher that students want; students clamor to get into his math classes.

In front of an enthusiastic schoolwide assembly filled with cheering students, respected colleagues, distinguished officials and the media, Harvey was surprised with a Milken Educator Award and a $25,000 check. He is the second teacher in California to win the Award today, and among up to only 40 educators nationally who will receive the prestigious honor during the Milken Family Foundation’s coast-to-coast tour. The foundation has been rewarding outstanding elementary and secondary educators with the Award since 1987.

Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken has visited thousands of classrooms over the past three decades. He presented Harvey with the Award alongside California Superintendent Tom Torlakson.

”Matthew Harvey’s knowledge and skills as a math teacher open wide the doors of opportunity for students,” said Milken. “He teaches with a dedication that exemplifies the heart of a teacher and Milken Educator.”

At CORE Butte Charter School, Harvey has become an indispensable part of the school. He teaches higher level math courses and has already made his mark. For the first time in the school’s history, two sections of Math 3 are filled to capacity. Harvey collaborates with teachers in other disciplines to integrate math into English, history, health and science lessons for a 21st century learning experience. Toward this end, he has developed career technical education classes focusing on health and medicine.

Hard work doesn’t scare Harvey and he’s embraced doing extra work on the math team, including researching a strengthened math curriculum. He volunteered to be a math lead in the school’s Medical Sciences CTE (Career and Technical Education) pathway, which he is implementing with the help of Butte Community College. In addition, he offers study hours, teacher office hours, tutoring support, attends almost all home sporting events and chaperones school dances.

Harvey previously taught at Princeton Junior-Senior High in Princeton, California. There, the school’s API scores increased from 687 to 800, a first-time jump that took it from being one of the lower-performing schools in the area to one of the highest; Harvey’s direct work and development with the students were key to this growth.

At CORE Butte Charter, Harvey is currently leading the long-range planning and pacing for instruction, and is a Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation category leader. As a leader of Butte’s CORE Schools Investigative team (also known as CSI), Harvey meets with staff members to address school concerns and generate ideas. He willingly puts his own projects on the back burner if a colleague or student needs help, and has been called “an absolute standout when it comes to parent trust.” His reputation is that of an educator who excels at identifying school problems, then rolling up his sleeves to fix them.

Harvey earned a Bachelor of Science in 2008 in math education from California State University, Chico.

The Milken Educator Awards program has been described as “the Oscars of teaching” by Teacher magazine. Recipients are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. Many have gone on to earn advanced degrees and be placed in prominent posts and on state and national education committees.

Alternating yearly between elementary and secondary educators, the Milken Awards are sourced through each participating state department of education, which appoints an independent blue ribbon committee to confidentially review candidates for recommendation to MFF.

This year, MFF launched a #MyTeacherRocks Instagram campaign that encourages students to take selfies with their favorite teacher and describe in the caption why their teacher is special. To enter the contest, entrants are asked to follow @MilkenFamilyFdn on Instagram, post their selfie to their individual account and use the #MyTeacherRocks and #MilkenAward hashtags. The three photos with the most “likes” will be selected in February and April 2016. The first winner was selected in November 2015.

To get regular updates on the surprise Milken Educator Award events, follow and use the #MilkenAward hashtag on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit or call MFF at (310) 570-4772.

The Milken Educator Awards tour is on social media at;;; and

The Milken Educator Awards, created by the Milken Family Foundation, were launched 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.