The Milken Family Foundation has named Vanessa Martinez as a Milken Family Foundation National Educator in a surprise ceremony at Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet School.
As a MFF National Educator, she will receive an unrestricted cash award of $25,000, as well as an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles, CA, to participate in the annual Milken Family Foundation National Educators Conference next April.
Governor Kathleen Sebelius joined Milken Family Foundation Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley, Deputy Commissioner of Education Dale M. Dennis, and USD 259 Interim Superintendent Martin Libhart at the school where Ms. Martinez serves as the assistant principal.
Dr. Kenneth Jantz, principal of Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet was also in attendance at the ceremony. Dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching,” the candidate was not aware that she was being considered for the award. Governor Sebelius revealed the name of the 2008 Milken National Educator to the applause and cheers of her colleagues and students.
“Nothing in America’s K-12 schools has more influence on student learning than the quality of the classroom teacher,” said Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken. “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.”
Research has shown that the single most important school-based factor driving student performance is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. The most effective teachers produce as much as five times the learning gains of the least effective teachers.
Active in 48 states and the District of Columbia, the Milken Educator Awards have grown to become the nation’s largest teacher recognition program. Since its inception in1987, the Milken Educator Awards have recognized more than 2,300 educators, providing over $60 million in awards. New recipients will join the Milken Educator Network, a rich resource of educators and other influential leaders accessible to fellow teachers, legislators, school boards, and others who are shaping the future of education. The award program is one of several programs sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation in the areas of education and medicine.