strengthening communities
through innovation and education
Milken Educator Awards
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Lowell Milken being interviewed
Images from left to right: Paula Franklin receiving a TN Milken Educator Award from Lowell Milken; Lowell Milken being interviewed during an award notification in Jenerette, LA; and CA Milken Educator Candice Harrington at her award notification.
2017 Milken Educator Paula Franklin with Lowell Milken
Images from left to right: Paula Franklin receiving a TN Milken Educator Award from Lowell Milken; Lowell Milken being interviewed during an award notification in Jenerette, LA; and CA Milken Educator Candice Harrington at her award notification.
Images from left to right: Paula Franklin receiving a TN Milken Educator Award from Lowell Milken; Lowell Milken being interviewed during an award notification in Jenerette, LA; and CA Milken Educator Candice Harrington at her award notification.

Conceived and created by Lowell Milken, the Milken Educator Awards (MEA) is the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program. Over 2,800 exemplary teachers, principals and specialists have been surprised with individual, unrestricted prizes of $25,000 since 1987, totaling over $70 million. Recipients of the Award are surprised in ceremonies in front of their colleagues and students, often during all-school assemblies. In front of cheering students, proud colleagues, distinguished officials and the media, each recipient is thanked for their contributions to education, both for what they have accomplished and for their future potential. Often called the “Oscars of Teaching,” recipients have even been asked for autographs by admiring students!  And while the celebrity treatment is well-deserved, the Awards aren’t all about the glitz and glamour. They’re about bringing attention to these classroom heroes, serving at once as validation, motivation and inspiration to current and future quality educators.

Recipients are heralded early to mid-career for what they have achieved—and for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future. Honorees join the national Milken Educator Network, gaining access to game-changing development tools and a powerful cohort of education professionals. The Network is a valuable resource to those shaping the future of education. Veteran Milken Educators frequently go on to leadership roles at state, national and international levels.  

Research shows that teacher quality is the driving in-school factor behind student performance. In fact, the most effective teachers produce up to five times the learning gains of those least effective. And in an era when U.S. students must increasingly compete with students worldwide for opportunities, the Milken Educator Award's motto has never been more salient: “The future belongs to the educated.” Find out more at www.milkeneducatorawards.org/


“While education is a national opportunity, it remains, regrettably, a national problem...and a problem of such scope and seeming intractability that I concluded long ago that the solution must be both exponential in its reach and overarching in its purpose. Not surprisingly, the key to the solution is the human element, for human capital is the decisive factor in all endeavors of abiding importance. In education, of course, the person endowed with the exponential power to make a difference is the talented educator.” - Lowell Milken

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