Osbourn Park High School Principal Neil A. Beech today received a $25,000 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award during a surprise assembly at the Prince William County school. The award was presented by Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright and Milken Family Foundation Senior Vice President Jane Foley before the students and faculty members packing the school gymnasium.
The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards are designed to recognize and reward elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and administrators who promote excellence and innovation in public education. Beech is the 37th Virginia educator to be recognized with the award since 1999.
"Neil Beech is an instructional leader who brings out the best in his students and teachers," Wright said. "He is a pioneer in the areas of virtual instruction and teacher training; he has left his mark on every school where he has taught or led."
Beech developed Prince William County’s first virtual earth science course, including curriculum, assessments and lesson plans. Under his leadership, Advanced Placement participation at Osbourn Park High has increased significantly, as has the English and mathematics achievement of students with disabilities.
Beech was named principal of Osbourn Park High in 2010 after serving as assistant principal since 2007. He joined Prince William County Public Schools as a biology teacher at Brentsville District High in 2001 and received the division’s Outstanding Performance Award in 2005.
Beech came to the United States from his native Great Britain as a Visiting International Fellow. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Sheffield Hallam University in England, a master’s in secondary science from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and completed a master’s in administration and supervision at George Mason University.
Educators are recommended for Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards without their knowledge by a panel appointed by each participating state’s education department. Recipients of the awards are selected on the basis of multiple criteria related to instructional practice, student achievement, accomplishments outside the classroom and leadership.
The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards were established in 1985. The awards program is the largest of its kind in the country. Since the inception of the program, the Milken Family Foundation has distributed more than $63 million in awards to more than 2,500 educators in 48 states and the District of Columbia.