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Two Educators Get $25,000 Surprise

MEDIA CONTACTS: (Note -- to speak to winners, contact local school systems or schools)  - GaDOE Communications Office: (404) 463-1487,  - Milken Family Foundation: Barbara Bowers, (310) 570-4773   See the announcements:        OCTOBER 7, 2008  -- A pair of Georgia teachers each got a $25,000 surprise on Tuesday.     Andrea King, from DeKalb County's Rock Chapel Elementary School, and Susan Grigg, from Sawyer Road Elementary School in Marietta, were named Georgia's 2008 National Milken Educators of the Year. The winning teachers receive $25,000 and other prizes. The Educator of the Year award is given by the Milken Family Foundation, of California.     State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox and Dr. Jane Foley, Senior Vice President of the Milken Family Foundation, made the surprise announcements at assemblies in each school on Tuesday.     "Andrea King and Susan Grigg are the kind of teachers that make Georgia proud," said Superintendent Cox. "They both work in schools where most of the students come from homes with serious economic challenges -- but they don't use that as an excuse. They combine high expectations, innovation and loving support to help their students achieve at the highest level possible. Congratulations to Andrea and Susan!"     The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards provide recognition and unrestricted financial awards of $25,000 each to exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in our nation’s schools. This year, alone, a total of up to $2 million in Milken Awards will be presented to up to 80 of America’s finest elementary educators. New Milken Educators also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to participate in the Milken National Education Conference focused on solutions to America’s pressing challenges in education today.     “Nothing in America’s K-12 schools has more influence on student learning that the quality of the classroom teacher,” said Lowell Milken, Chairman of the foundation. “Highly effective teachers are the bedrock in constructing a world-class education system that meets our challenges and opportunities in this 21st century. It is a national imperative that we attract, retain and motivate people of talent to the profession. America’s prosperity depends on it.”       Superintendent Cox thanked the Milken Family Foundation for being a great friend to education.  "For 22 years, the Milken Foundation has been showing people around the nation that teaching is one of the most important professions in the world," Superintendent Cox said. "I am so grateful that they have made this commitment of time, energy and resources to recognize our great teachers!"     Potential nominees for the award are gathered by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and presented to a blue ribbon panel of judges that includes members of GaDOE, the education community and other stakeholders. The finalists are sent to the Milken Family Foundation, which chooses the two winners.    ABOUT THE WINNERS   SUSAN GRIGG      Ms. Susan Grigg serves as the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme Coordinator at Sawyer Road Elementary, in the City of Marietta. Serving as a teacher for ten years prior to that, she was selected for this role because she demonstrated exceptional instructional practices that yield positive results in student achievement. She was instrumental in helping open the new Sawyer Road Elementary school in Marietta and guided her school through the authorization process to become an International Baccalaureate School. She also co-authored the conversion charter and charter implementation grant. She relates well to every type of teacher, those in the first year and veterans. Ms. Grigg's community involvement ties closely with the Oceaneer Theater Company at Sawyer. This is a theater group for students in grades 2-5. Her efforts include soliciting for theater space, costumes, advertising and props. Because of her work, the students have had the opportunity to perform in a real theater in front of their peers, families, and community. Her dedication and intimate working relationships with teachers has led students' scores to go up in every subject.    ANDREA KING      Ms. Andrea King is an exemplary teacher who embodies the true spirit of transformation education. Working with both gifted and special needs students, she is an expert at differentiation. Her creative ways of teaching and out of the box thinking have led to some positive results in the classroom, some of which include Papier-mâché dinosaurs and Egyptian costumes. Ms. King has the ability to teach children from diverse backgrounds. She has also been pro-active in changing inappropriate student behavior at lunch by displaying flowers, tablecloths and formal place settings on lunchroom tables. She eats with her students and teaches proper table etiquette. She always volunteers for school activities and takes special interest in putting together the "Father-Daughter" Dance at her school. Currently working on her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, Ms. King is a life-long learner who continually researches ways to improve her teaching. She serves as the Professional Learning Liaison for the school and always takes the time to help other teachers improve their teaching skills. Ms. King is dedicated to providing children with an emotionally-safe environment and quality education. Her self-contained students earned a 100% pass rate on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.  -  Learn about the Milken Family Foundation  -  See a list of past Milken Educator Award winners from Georgia