Milken Family Foundation Overview
The Milken Educator Awards are the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program, having honored more than 2,500 K-12 teachers, principals and specialists coast to coast 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. Awardees are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved… and for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.
Launched by education reform leader Lowell Milken to celebrate, elevate and activate exemplary K-12 educators, the Awards program showcases in a very public way that greatness in education must be recognized and rewarded. For a quarter-century, the Milken Educator Awards have been instrumental in communicating to parents and policymakers the proven fact that the quality of the teacher in the classroom is the most important school-based factor in determining student achievement.
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.
In the fall, when the notifications are made during all-school assemblies—filled with cheering students, proud colleagues, an entourage of distinguished officials and the media—each new Milken Educator is caught completely by surprise. In a moment’s time, they experience well-deserved acclaim and receive what Teacher Magazine hails as the “Oscars of Teaching.”
Recipients are also inducted into the national Milken Educator Network, dedicated to reforming and strengthening American K-12 education because, as the watchwords of the Milken Educator Awards program proclaims, The future belongs to the educated.