Educators surprised with national award, $25,000 prize
BATON ROUGE - Three Louisiana educators have received a national award as well as checks for $25,000 for their work in their respective school districts.
The Milken Family Foundation acknowledged the work of Port Allen Middle School teacher Jessica Major and Plaquemine High School Principal Chandler Smith during award ceremonies on Wednesday. Shreveport teacher John Lary received the award on Tuesday.
Each school held assemblies to surprise the educators with their awards and their $25,000 checks, which can be used however each of them wishes.
The foundation launched the Milken Educator Awards in 1987 to recognize the rising stars of the public education world. Award organizers said the honors are given to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists early in their careers to recognize their achievements so far and the promise of what else they could accomplish.
The foundation said Major, a TAP Master Teacher and dean of students for Port Allen Middle, has helped her school rise from being a low-achieving school to receiving multiple state awards for higher test scores, lower disciplinary referrals and strategic plans to keep growing student learning.
Plaquemine High School Principal Chandler Smith received his honor after the Milken Foundation said he and his school's leadership team helped create different paths to employment after graduation for his students. The paths included focuses on manufacturing, health science, business, government, information technology, and college studies.
In Shreveport, history teacher John Lary at C.E. Byrd High School was recognized for his ability to identify and inspire smart but academically unmotivated students, and creating a strong student interest in Advanced Placement classes such as his AP European History course which started with 30 students and now has 198. Lary also created a parish-wide history essay competition where submissions are judged by students and teachers, read at conference and published in paperback collections on Amazon.
For more on the Milken Foundation, click here.