The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards program provides public recognition and financial rewards to elementary and secondary school teacher, principals and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education. By honoring outstanding educators, the program strives to attract, develop, motivate and retain talented people to the challenge and adventure of teaching.
Hailed as the ”Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Educator Awards were created in 1985 by education reform leader Lowell Milken to celebrate, elevate and activate excellence in the profession. To date, more than 2,500 K-12 teachers, principals and specialists coast to coast have been honored with over $63 million in individual, unrestricted $25,000 awards. More than $135 million has been devoted to the overall program, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout the recipients’ careers in education.
Unlike most teacher awards, this program has no formal nomination or application process. Every participating state’s department of education appoints an independent blue ribbon committee to recommend candidates according to strict criteria, with final selections made by the Milken Family Foundation.
Unsuspecting recipients are caught by surprise during annual Notifications when their names are announced at emotional all-school assemblies. In a moment’s time, cheering students, proud colleagues, an entourage of distinguished officials and the media are reminded of teaching’s critical value to society. Young people are inspired to consider the adventure of teaching as a career choice.
The Milken Educator Award is not an accolade for lifetime achievement. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved… and for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.