Thursday, October 12, 2006

4th Grade Teacher Carla Bittner National Award Winner

(Carla Bittner w. Superintendent Jones, Dr. Foley, Acting Commissioner Davy, and Principal Carey)

Yesterday, Evergreen Avenue School fourth grade teacher Carla Bittner was surprised at a school assembly to find that the reason everyone gathered at the event was to celebrate the fact that she was one of two New Jersey educators to win the Milken Family foundation National Educator Award for 2006. Actually, everyone was surprised since the purpose of the program was kept as a secret.

Acting Commissioner of Education for New Jersey, Lucille Davy, and the Senior Vice President for the Milken Family National Educator Awards Program, Dr. Jane Foley, were on hand to make the surprise announcement.

An overview of the Milken program is provided below. The award, as gradually revealed to all the children and adults gathered at the assembly yesterday, includes a $25,000 cash prize. Congratulations, Mrs. Bittner!

(Carla Bittner w. Acting Commissioner Davy)

Program Overview:

The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards program provides public recognition and financial rewards to elementary and secondary schoolteachers, principals and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education. By honoring outstanding educators, the program strives to attract, develop, motivate and retain talented people to the challenge and adventure of teaching.

In the early 1980s, education reform pioneer Lowell Milken conceived and created an awards program to acknowledge educators' crucial contributions to our national well-being. His main belief was–and is–that an effective way to advance the teaching profession is to reward educators' achievements, enhance their resources, and expand their professional interests.
From its original presentation of awards to a dozen California educators, the program has grown to national stature with participating partners in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Including the recipients announced during the 2005–2006 school year, over 2,200 outstanding kindergarten-through-12th-grade educators have been recognized and celebrated with unrestricted, individual Milken Educator Awards of $25,000.

The Milken Educator Awards are announced each year at exciting surprise notifications held in all-school assemblies, attended by thousands of students all across the country. Foundation representatives and the chief state school officer make the Award announcements in the company of federal, state and local dignitaries, often including the governor or first lady.
The electronic and print media presence at the notifications is essential in publicizing excellence in education. Policymakers and their constituencies, the private sector, and social agencies working to better their communities are reminded of the critical, positive impact of educators. Furthermore, spreading the news of the Awards seeks to attract talented people, young and older alike, to the American teaching profession.

The Foundation presents the financial awards to new honorees during a gala celebration held at the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference. This inspirational gathering, whose guests include state and federal government officials as well as influential community, business and education leaders, generates widespread recognition for America's finest educators.

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