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Nurturing a love of math multiplies student success, earns Andria Lindsey a tidy sum: A $25,000 Milken Educator Award
Calculus teacher oversees exponential growth for International Baccalaureate program at Bend Senior High in Oregon
December 12, 2017
SANTA MONICA, Calif., — Mathematics isn't always considered a fun subject, but that's definitely not the case when it comes to Andria Lindsey's classes at Bend Senior High School. Inspiring students with her holistic approach and endlessly adaptable methods, Lindsey's students score above the national average in math, excelling at every level from the basics right on up to calculus. Her classroom has become a prime lunch hour hangout, even for students not enrolled in her classes.
But the gregarious gathering of students started earlier than usual today when Lindsey was surprised by a rousing 9 a.m. student assembly where she was named a 2017-2018 winner of the Milken Educator Award by Oregon's Acting Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Colt Gill and Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley. The Award comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize, which Lindsey can use however she sees fit—a math problem that's no problem at all.
Lindsey is the only Milken Educator Award winner from Oregon this year and is one of 44 honorees for 2017-18.
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 not only aims to reward great teachers, but to celebrate, elevate and activate those innovators in the classroom who are guiding America's next generation of leaders. Milken Educators believe, "The future belongs to the educated."
A passionate advocate of the International Baccalaureate program and head of the school's math department, Lindsey is not only a great teacher to her students but she's also a ready liaison to the community and a mentor to her colleagues. She keeps parents looped in and involved, helped her school district develop new math teaching standards and promotes STEM careers to students, particularly to young women who often eschew Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in favor of more traditional fields.
"Andria Lindsey makes daunting subjects approachable, difficult problems solvable and fresh ways of thinking commonplace for her students with a flexibility and resourcefulness that's remarkable," said Foley, "Which is why she's a perfect Milken Educator Award recipient. By helping students find the joy in math, Lindsey not only primes her students for higher education success but also sets them on a trajectory in life where they can soar anywhere that their agile minds can imagine."
"Andria models the attitudes and high standards she desires to see reflected in her students, and as a result is highly regarded by students and staff alike," said Gill. "I applaud Andria on this well-deserved honor and her commitment to inspire excellence, change lives, and shape the future."
"Andria is a servant educator who ensures student successes through the development of exceptional relationships between students and staff that ensure every student is known by their name, strength and need," said Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Shay Mikalson. "Many of her former students return to share their post-secondary and college successes with her – and attribute much of their preparedness to her."
"Andria's passion and dedication to teaching and learning is second to none," said Bend High School Principal Christopher Reese. "Her number one priority is to create a classroom climate that is warm, inviting, safe and secure, and that is built on trust. Bend Senior High School is a better place because of her. She is an asset to education and an absolutely phenomenal teacher."
About Milken Educator Andria Lindsey
As coordinator of the International Baccalaureate program at Bend Senior High School in Bend, Oregon, math teacher Andria Lindsey serves as the ambassador for IB education in the local community. To celebrate the rigorous program's fifth year at Bend High, Lindsey put together a luncheon that included students, staff, elected officials, college presidents and business leaders. Highlighting IB's big-picture, cross-disciplinary philosophy and student coursework, Lindsey shared student success stories from high school, college admissions and beyond. She also started an IB parent advisory committee to keep families informed and create opportunities for their support. The IB program is flourishing under Lindsey's care: more than 450 students at Bend High take at least one IB class, and last year 26 students graduated with full IB diplomas.
In addition to her IB responsibilities, Lindsey teaches pre-calculus and calculus, both IB classes. She is known for her unparalleled ability to nurture students' love of math. Those who start in low-level math classes succeed in advanced classes like calculus because of Lindsey's holistic teaching style. She constantly checks in with students to make sure they understand the material and pushes them to explain why the math works—and if they're not getting it, she changes her approach immediately. Always available, Lindsey established Bend High's math lab to tutor struggling students, as well as a program that pairs high-schoolers with middle school students who need math help. She has even been known to help students with math problems via text while watching her own children's sporting events. Her students, 90% of whom take the IB math test, consistently score above the national average. Lindsey is credited with motivating young women to pursue STEM careers after graduating from Bend High.
For Lindsey, teaching is about building relationships. Students pile into her classroom at lunchtime, whether they're in her class or not. She goes to school soccer games, attends choir concerts and graduation parties, and coaches the equestrian team. Former students come back in droves on college breaks to share their "wins" with her. Contributing to her professional community is just as important. She has mentored teachers in her school and district, as well as some across the state, and has led classroom observation "learning walks" at Bend High. Lindsey heads the math department, sits on the school's curriculum and leadership teams, has helped the district develop new math standards, and is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. An Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) trainer, Lindsey gives presentations about AVID to Bend High staff and the community.
Lindsey earned a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology in 2000 from the University of California Santa Barbara and a master's of education in 2002 from Azusa Pacific University.
More information about Lindsey, plus links to photos and a video from today's assembly, can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/Andria-Lindsey.
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, Lindsay'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 www.facebook.com/milkeneducatorawards, www.twitter.com/milken, www.youtube.com/milkenaward, and http://instagram.com/milkenfamilyfdn.
For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit www.MilkenEducatorAwards.org 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.
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