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For Immediate Release
November 1, 2005
Contact: Charles Pyle
Director of Communications
(804) 371-2420
Julie Grimes
Public Information Officer
(804) 225-2775

Two Virginia K-12 Educators Receive $25,000 Milken Awards
High School Teachers in Chesterfield County and Salem Honored

A Chesterfield County social studies teacher and a world history teacher from Salem each received $25,000 awards today from the Milken Family Foundation. Milken Family Foundation Senior Vice President Jane Foley and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jo Lynne DeMary presented the awards during surprise assemblies at each winner’s school.

“It comes as no surprise to their fellow educators, students, and school divisions that these teachers represent Virginia’s best,” said Dr. DeMary. “I am delighted that through the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards program they also are receiving recognition at the state and national levels.”

“Talented teachers are the key to ensuring high-quality educational opportunities for all students,” said Dr. Foley. “By recognizing and rewarding outstanding educators each year, we focus the nation’s attention on the critical need to attract, retain and motivate caring, capable people to the American teaching profession.”

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 2005 Virginia recipients are:

  • Laura D. Lay , a social studies teacher at James River High School in Chesterfield County. Ms. Lay, who serves as the chair of the social studies department, is known for her strong leadership skills and comprehensive subject knowledge. Credited with tripling the enrollment of students in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, her students consistently score well on AP exams and Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments. A graduate of The College of William and Mary with a master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, Ms. Lay has spent the last three summers participating in Asian study fellowships, tours, and teaching institutes. “ This national recognition speaks volumes about Ms. Lay's commitment to inspire excellence. She connects personally with her students and demonstrates a willingness to help shape a better future for them. We are fortunate in Chesterfield County to have teachers like Ms. Lay making such a profound difference in the lives of our students each day," said Dr. Billy Cannaday, Chesterfield County superintendent.

    View video clip of Ms. Lay's announcement.

  • Mark L. Ingerson, a ninth-grade world history teacher at Salem High School. In the five years he has taught world history at Salem High School SOL test scores have risen from 72 percent to 99 percent with half the students receiving “pass advanced” results. The Washington Post recognized Mr. Ingerson for his SOL advocacy. After serving in the military, he graduated from the University of Massachusetts and earned a master’s degree from Virginia Tech in 2000. Named Salem’s 2004 Teacher of the Year, he serves as freshman class advisor and forensics coach. "Mark is an outstanding educator and an effective advocate of high standards for students and the teaching profession," said N. Wayne Tripp, superintendent of Salem City public schools. "He represents a new breed of teacher whose preparation includes life and career experiences gained outside the traditional route."

    View video clip of Mr. Ingerson's announcement.

Ms. Lay and Mr. Ingerson join 23 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 $54 million in awards to more than 2,100 educators in 48 states and the District of Columbia. From October 24 to November 4, 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 2006 at the Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference in Washington, DC.