Nebraska Milken Educators

  •  Nebraska joined the Milken Educator Awards program in 1996.

  • 40 recipients since program began in Nebraska.

  • $1,000,000 awarded in Nebraska since program began

    Jon Pickinpaugh

    Jon Pickinpaugh, 2017 Nebraska Milken Educator Recipient. Photo courtesy of the Milken Family Foundation.

Matthew L. Blomstedt, Ph.D.
Commissioner of Education

Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall South
Sixth Floor
Lincoln, NE 68509-4987

Ms. Lora Sypal
Executive Office Associate

Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall South
Sixth Floor
Lincoln, NE 68509-4987

Milken Family Foundation Criteria for Selection

Based on guidelines established by the Foundation, participating states’ departments of education appoint blue-ribbon committees that recommend candidates for selection. Identification and selection procedures are confidential, and the program does not include a formal nomination or application procedure.

The criteria for the selection of outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and other education professionals as Milken Educators include all of the following:

Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;

Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;

Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight;

Early- to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and

Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

Milken Family Foundation Goals

Outstanding educators who continue to learn are essential to the fostering of student growth, the improvement of schools and the enhancement of the education profession. Hence, the goals of the Milken Educator Awards are:

To honor and reward outstanding K-12 educators for the quality of their teaching, their professional leadership, their engagement with families and the community, and their potential for even greater contributions to the healthy development of children.

To focus public attention on the importance of excellent educators.

To encourage able, caring and creative people to choose the challenge, service and adventure of teaching as a career.

To create national and state networks of Milken Educators that:

foster the active professional development and career enhancement of Milken Educators and other professionals,

encourage Milken Educators to help shape the educational policies that influence their classrooms and schools,

connect Milken Educators with the educational improvement efforts of state and federal education agencies, universities, educators, corporate partners and others.

To engage corporate and foundation partners in assisting Milken Educators and in supporting policies that advance education.

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.