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Ellsworth Teacher Makes History as District's First Recipient of $25,000 Milken Educator Award

During nationwide tour, Meghan Stubbs of Hancock County Technical Center was surprised with the honor recognizing innovation and outstanding leadership in education 

November 29, 2023

ELLSWORTH, Maine Meghan Stubbs, a career and technical education (CTE) teacher at Hancock County Technical Center, found herself at the center of a heartwarming surprise during a schoolwide assembly earlier today. The visit by Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin to commend the school's CTE programs also honored Stubbs' individual contributions with a Milken Educator Award, a distinguished recognition bestowed by the Milken Family Foundation. The Award honors outstanding educators across the country for their innovation, achievements and exemplary leadership, and it includes $25,000 that the recipients may use however they choose.    

Milken Family Foundation Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher, joined by Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin, presented the Award – the first in Ellsworth School Department since the Awards' creation in 1987. Sharing in this historic moment has special meaning for Commissioner Makin: She reveals later in the program that she herself received a Maine Milken Educator Award in 2001.  

"Meghan Stubbs is truly helping to grow the next generation of educators," said Gallagher. "Her exceptional creativity in curriculum development, the opportunities she creates for impactful civic involvement, and the responsibility she instills in her students to actively engage in their community is not just shaping their careers, but is also creating conscientious citizens who can facilitate positive change." 

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.  

"Dedicated, an advocate, a leader, and an all-in educator. That's how Meghan Stubbs is known at Hancock County Technical Center,” said Commissioner Makin. "Meghan is constantly seeking ways to support her students, lift up her colleagues, and foster connections with the community. Being one of her students means not just gaining the skills and knowledge needed to be an early childhood educator but also getting real-world experience through the childcare center she established at the school, competing in state and national competitions, and developing a strong civic voice through visits with legislators at the State Capitol. We are proud to join the entire Ellsworth community to honor and celebrate Meghan Stubbs for her extraordinary contributions to her students, colleagues, and public education in Maine." 

The Milken Educator Award is not a lifetime achievement honor. 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 Meghan Stubbs  

Enrichment Through Civic Responsibility: Stubbs cultivates a welcoming, safe atmosphere for students in her highly regarded Career and Technical Education program, focusing on early childhood education. This program not only equips students with the knowledge and skills needed for leadership roles in their school and community, but also emphasizes the importance of civic involvement. For example, Stubbs organizes field trips to the state capital where her students advocate for early childhood education and positive changes in childcare practices.

Hands-On, Early Childhood Instruction: Leading by example, Stubbs established the "Caterpillar Clubhouse," an on-site, part-time childcare center at the school. Under her guidance, students have the unique opportunity to mentor 3- and 4-year-olds, creating a rich learning experience that extends beyond textbooks. Collaborating with the local elementary school and YMCA, Stubbs provides her students with hands-on experiences across different age groups, and most of her students go on to earn their Certified Early Childhood Assistant certification each year.

Fostering Pathways to Success: Stubbs leads one of Maine's most active chapters of SkillsUSA, a student-led organization that connects young adults to trade industries for career opportunities. Stubbs serves as a SkillsUSA advisor at both the state and national levels and volunteers on the SkillsUSA Maine Board of Directors. Her students have excelled at SkillsUSA competitions, with some earning gold medals and serving as state officers. Stubbs is active on Hancock's MELMAC committee that works with students to make informed decisions about their futures, starting with advancing successfully to college or post-secondary training. New teachers look to Stubbs' guidance and support to instill these values in their own students. 

A Role Model Beyond the School: Stubbs' generosity extends to the community, where she spearheads initiatives such as food and clothing drives. She is also engaged in Comfort Cases, a project that assembles backpacks with essential personal care items for youth entering the foster care system. 

Education: Stubbs earned her Bachelor of Arts in early childhood education and child and family studies from Lesley University in 2012. 

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