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Math Teacher Lindsey Bibler of Florence, South Carolina, Scores Milken Educator Award and Becomes $25,000 Richer

February 09, 2016

SANTA MONICA, CA — All that South Florence High staff and students knew was that their State Superintendent of Education Molly M. Spearman was paying a visit. What they didn’t know was that one of their outstanding teachers was going to walk out of a schoolwide assembly with a Milken Educator Award and a hefty cash prize of $25,000.

Before students, colleagues, distinguished officials and the media, math department chair Lindsey Bibler was announced as the latest Milken Educator Award recipient in South Carolina.

Spearman joined Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley to reveal the news.

Bibler is among up to 40 educators who will receive the prestigious national honor during the Milken Family Foundation’s (MFF) coast-to-coast tour across the country. MFF has been rewarding outstanding elementary and secondary educators with the Award since 1987.

“Lindsey Bibler’s love of math is infectious,” said Foley. “She has a gift of reaching students at all levels, making herself available morning, noon and night to coach them to mastery. We’re thrilled to honor her work with a Milken Educator Award and look forward to following her bright future in education.”

“I am so proud of Lindsey Bibler and the devotion she exhibits every day to the students and community in Florence,” said Spearman. “She is truly deserving of this great honor and will stand as a shining example for educators across our state. I want to thank the Milken Family Foundation for their hard work recognizing educators like Lindsey across the country. I am appreciative of our strong partnership and look forward to future collaboration to honor other outstanding South Carolina educators.”

As an alumna of South Florence High School, Bibler graduated as valedictorian and came back to the school as a student teacher, then as a permanent staff member. She is now known as a leader and trusted mentor to students and teachers alike.

Bibler teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus, Pre-Calculus and Differential Calculus, adjusting her teaching methods to meet the needs of students at all levels, from gifted to low-performers. Bibler leads discussions as a cognitive coach, encouraging students to dig deeper and aim higher. Students ask questions, collaborate with their peers and continually reflect on their learning. She is available outside class hours to provide additional help, tutoring before school, after school, during planning periods and on weekends. Her class website also features videos, notes and other resources.

The passion Bibler ignites in her students is reflected in their learning gains. They attained a 100% passage rate on the AP Calculus AB exam in 2014. After a decade of the school not offering Calculus BC, Bibler not only generated enough interest to bring the class back in 2014, but also achieved a 79% passage rate from her students that first year.  

Bibler has seen other increases in student achievement throughout her career at South Florence High. When she taught algebra in 2009, for example, students received a passage rate of 86%, which was significantly above school, district and state averages. The passage rate grew into the nineties in subsequent years. The same trend held true for her Calculus AB class; 67% of students passed the AP exam during Bibler’s first year of teaching, then achieved 100% passage rates in the second and third years.

Bibler has also helped students with learning disabilities pass end-of-course exams as well as the High School Assessment Program (HSAP), when the requirement was in effect.

Beyond the classroom, Bibler mentors other teachers and helps drive curriculum and instruction for the school. A strong proponent of technology in the classroom, she has trained colleagues and collaborated on a successful $20,000 grant for TI-Nspire calculators. She has presented at the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics, participated in a parent session on state standards and brings knowledge back from professional workshops.

First in her family to graduate college, Bibler earned a Bachelor of Science in math and a teaching certification from Francis Marion University in 2008 and a Master of Education in educational technology from Lesley University in 2010.

More information about Bibler, plus photos and a video from today’s assembly, can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/lindsey-bibler.

Bibler is the second and final recipient of a Milken Educator Award in South Carolina this season. Kimberly Freeman, Latin instructor and world language department chair at Lexington Middle School in Lexington, received a Milken Educator Award earlier today. More information about Freeman and her event can be found at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/kimberly-freeman.

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. Two photos with the most “likes” will be selected on February 12 and a date to be determined in April 2016. The first of the three winners 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 www.MilkenEducatorAwards.org or call MFF at (310) 570-4772.

The Milken Educator Awards tour is on social media at https://instagram.com/milkenfamilyfdn; www.facebook.com/milkeneducatorawards; www.twitter.com/milken; and www.youtube.com/milkenaward.

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.

Press Contact:

Jana Rausch
Communications Director
310-570-4774 Office 310-435-9259 Cell


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