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Maryland Math Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Frederick High School's Maggie Arnold presented with prestigious national honor during nationwide tour for outstanding dedication to excellence in education

April 18, 2024

Frederick, Md. Frederick High School's Maggie Arnold experienced the surprise of a lifetime today when she received the Milken Educator Award, a prestigious national honor recognizing exceptional educators for outstanding dedication to excellence in education. Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher, joined by Maryland Interim State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carey M. Wright, presented Arnold with the Award in front of cheering students, colleagues, dignitaries and the media. The honor includes an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize that recipients may use however they choose.    

"Maggie Arnold epitomizes the transformative power of education by channeling her own challenges into pathways for success and guiding her students to do the same," said Gallagher. "Her outstanding ability to provide real-world scenarios that relate to her mathematics lessons is preparing her students for academic and future success."  

Hailed as the "Oscars of Teaching," the Awards will honor up to 75 recipients across the country in 2023-24 as part of the Milken Family Foundation's Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator. 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.   

"Maryland's network of Milken Award winners highlights extraordinary educators like Maggie Arnold who share their knowledge, skills and experiences to help children learn and relate to the world around them," said Dr. Wright. "Her dedication also comes through in many ways, from mentoring younger teachers and tutoring students to collaborating with colleagues to strengthen curriculum and instructional strategies. Maggie shows she cares and we recognize and celebrate her impact." 

More About Maggie Arnold

Real-World Instruction Develops Confident, Independent Thinkers: Maggie Arnold's journey is a testament to resilience and achievement. Having arrived in the U.S. as a young child speaking no English, she learned how to thrive in fully immersive English classes and completed high school, college and a graduate degree before becoming a math teacher at Frederick High School. Today she shares her story with her students to impart the value of lifelong learning.

Arnold's approach to educating the "whole child" is rooted in Mind Brain Education (MBE), involving the connection among meditation, mindfulness and metacognition. As such, her classroom is a collaborative hub for higher-order thinking, questioning, feedback and problem-solving where students develop a tenacity to reach their potential. Her lessons are infused with memory retrieval practices, motivational videos and modules tied to real-world applications. One prime example is her financial literacy assignment, "Passport to Financial Freedom." This long-term project prepares students for the realities of the workforce by earning passport stamps – similar to those accumulated during real-life travel – for engaging in sound financial practices like contributing to a savings account, shadowing a professional or performing a "shop comparison" on a purchase. Arnold has also organized a "media club" on Fridays during which students reflect on a math topic of their choosing through a video, article or podcast. Additionally, Arnold helps her students excel through ALEKS – a personalized learning pathway system the county implements.

Central to Arnold's success is the cultivation of strong relationships with students and their families. Leveraging technology such as the Talking Points app and frequent in-person or virtual meetings, she ensures active parental involvement in their children's educational journey.

Impactful Leadership: In addition to her classroom teaching, Arnold plays a leading role in the Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) process for the geometry team, setting student learning objectives (SLOs) and collaborating on curriculum, instructional strategies, formative assessments and rubric-scoring. This work has led to students exceeding their benchmarks and engaging in practices to sustain their progress. She also mentors new teachers as a professional learning community (PLC) facilitator for the Rise and Thrive induction program, serves on the curriculum writing team for the county in geometry and contemporary math, and conducts afterschool tutoring – for both high school and middle school students.

Education: Arnold earned her bachelor's degree from Messiah University in 2006 and a master's degree from Mount St. Mary's University 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 this June, 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