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For Immediate Release
October 13, 2004

Contact: Charles Pyle
Director of Communications
(804) 371-2420

Julie Grimes
Public Information Specialist
(804) 225-2775

Two Virginia K-12 Educators Receive
$25,000 Milken Awards

Franklin County Teacher and
Fairfax County Principal Honored

A Franklin County fourth-grade teacher and a Fairfax County elementary school principal received $25,000 awards this week from the Milken Family Foundation. Milken Family Foundation President Lowell Milken and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jo Lynne DeMary presented the awards during surprise assemblies at each winner’s school.

“These educators are recognized as among Virginia’s finest by their peers, students, and school divisions,” said Dr. DeMary. “I am delighted that they now are receiving national recognition through the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards program.”

“Improving American education strengthens the vitality of American democracy,” said Mr. Milken. “By shining a light on the excellence of these educators, and the nearly 2,000 others we have honored over the past 18 years, we hope to show how crucial their efforts are to the goal of providing every child in America with the opportunity for a high quality education.”

The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards are designed to reward and provide recognition for elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and administrators who promote excellence and innovation in public education. The 2004 Virginia recipients are:

  • Lisa Bowman, a fourth-grade teacher at Burnt Chimney Elementary School in Franklin County. Ms. Bowman began her education career 15 years ago as a teaching assistant. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1997 and has been a full time teacher at Burnt Chimney Elementary School for five years. In 2003, Ms. Bowman’s third-grade students achieved a 97 percent pass rate on the English Standards of Learning (SOL) test. Ms. Bowman was Franklin County’s 2001 Teacher of the Year and serves as a mentor for new teachers in her school. Dr. DeMary announced Ms. Bowman’s award on Tuesday during a surprise assembly at the school.

  • Deborah L. Tyler, principal at Pine Spring Elementary School in Falls Church (Fairfax County). Ms. Tyler is a dynamic instructional leader who was selected by staff and the community to serve as principal. Under her leadership, students have made significant increases in achievement on the grade-3 and grade-5 SOL tests. Pine Spring Elementary, which is a school-wide Title I school, is fully accredited and is meeting the achievement objectives of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Mr. Milken personally presented the award to Ms. Tyler during an assembly at the school.

Ms. Bowman and Ms. Tyler join 21 other Virginia educators who have been recognized with the prestigious Milken Educator Awards since Virginia began participating in 1999.

Educators are recommended for the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each participating state’s department of education. Recipients of the awards are selected on the basis of numerous criteria, including:

  • Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by student achievement and outstanding instructional practices in the classroom, school, and profession;
  • Outstanding accomplishments and strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and
  • Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues, and the community at-large.

The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards were established in 1985. The awards program, dubbed “the Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, is the largest of its kind in the country. Since the inception of the program the Milken Family Foundation has distributed more than $50,000,000 in awards to 2,077 educators in 47 states and the District of Columbia. This month, 100 new recipients from across the country are being announced in surprise assemblies at their schools. This year’s award winners will receive their unrestricted $25,000 prizes in May 2005 at the Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference in Washington.