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Surprise! Thornville Math Teacher Krista Trent Receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Trent is the only Ohio Milken Educator Award recipient this season and the first ever from Northern Local School District

October 18, 2018

SANTA MONICA, Calif., — Krista Trent's membership on Thornville Elementary School's Positivity Team is all about building character, but nothing could have prepared her for the major morale boost of being announced as Ohio's only 2018-19 Milken Educator. The Award comes with an eye-popping $25,000 individual cash prize that the fourth-grade teacher can use however she wishes. Before today, the school was told that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria was visiting to commend the school on its Positivity Project—all true, but what better way to celebrate than to reward one of Thornville's own for encouraging students to be their very best?

Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley—introduced by DeMaria in front of a schoolwide assembly of faculty, students and visiting dignitaries—made the surprise announcement. Foley is herself a Milken Educator, hailing from Indiana's 1994 class.

"Humor and hard work are paying dividends in Krista Trent's classroom," said Foley. "Krista's unwavering commitment to nurturing the love of learning in every student, all the while achieving top marks, is inspiring. We welcome her to the National Milken Educator Network of excellence and look forward to the richness her expertise will bring."

Trent is among up to 40 honorees nationwide to receive the prestigious recognition for the 2018-19 season. In addition to representing Ohio this year, she is the first recipient from the Northern Local School District in the Awards' 30-year history.

"I am thrilled to honor Krista," said DeMaria. "She exemplifies what it means to be an amazing teacher—she inspires hope, ignites imagination and instills in her students a love of learning that will last forever."

Research shows teacher quality is the number one in-school factor determining how well a student performs. The Milken Educator Awards, named by Teacher magazine as the "Oscars of Teaching," not only aims to reward great teachers, but also 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."

About Milken Educator Krista Trent
Krista Trent, who teaches fourth-grade math at Thornville Elementary in Thornville, Ohio, insists that the word "can't" doesn't exist in her vocabulary—not for her, and not for her students. She uses her passion for teaching, high expectations and a keen sense of humor to push her students to make great gains in her class. Trent focuses on building skills, not raising test scores, but naturally her student outcomes shine: Her classes score at the top of the Northern Local School District on state and value-added assessments. Students leave Trent's classroom with the skills they need to succeed in higher grades, the desire to become lifelong learners, and the understanding that working hard is a pathway to success. When fifth-graders decorated the sidewalks with work showing what they wanted to be when they grow up, the assortment included more than a few aspiring math teachers.

Trent insists on excellence, expecting more from her students than they know they are capable of. She works to provide all students with a sense of accomplishment, from gifted to those with special learning needs. Trent's students participate in their own learning, self-checking at different stations within the classroom. She guides students who need extra help or challenges during class, before and after school, and even at lunch and recess. Known as a masterful differentiator, Trent attended specialized training to enable her to serve gifted students for enrichment without having them pulled out of class.

Trent serves on Thornville's leadership team and works to improve all student outcomes, including writing skills and other subjects outside her core area of expertise. She contributed testimony at the state level when math standards were being revised and is a leader in the district for math curriculum and instructional practices. Trent plays an important role in the school community, attending PTO meetings, having coached volleyball and happily taking her turn in the dunk tank during carnivals. On the school's Positivity Project Leadership Team, she helps build good character in students, the school and the community. She takes the lead in contacting reluctant parents and always brings a positive plan to move students forward. When she embarked on a personal wellness journey, she shared her success and led an exercise program for her colleagues, inspiring staff members to focus on their health and make positive lifestyle changes.

Trent earned her bachelor's degree of science in middle childhood education with concentrations in language arts and math from Ohio University in 2007 and a master's in curriculum and instruction from Ohio Dominican University in 2010.

More information about Trent, plus links to photos and video from today's assembly, can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at

Milken Educators are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. Along with the $25,000 prize and public recognition, Trent'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, 2018-19 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 21-24, 2019. 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,,, and

For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit 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 over 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.