• LM org M5818 D033
    Stein Elementary School, Lakewood, CO

    "In creating the Award, I meant for the size of the prize to have its own effect, calling attention to the importance of a job whose pay is not remotely equivalent  to its worth to children and society."  - Lowell Milken

  • LM org M5177 C02 21
    Beethoven Elementary School, Chicago, IL

    For the 1,000th Milken Educator Award Notification, none other than Oprah Winfrey herself and her show's entire live audience joined Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-founder Lowell Milken to surprise teacher Catherine Schaller with her award.

  • LM org M5789 D041
    Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Washington D.C.

    "When I stood at the podium to acknowledge my Milken Educator Award, I looked amongst the surprised faces of my students. What touched me most was to see the teenage faces that were filled with tears of joy. I knew at the moment the impact I had on the lives of my students." - Kim Burke-Ables Milken Educator Award Recipient 2003

  • LM org M5943 D063
    Jack Park Elementary School, University City, MO

    Putting the "family" in Milken Family Foundation, Lowell's sister Joni Milken joins him to present a Milken Educator Award.

  • LM ORG M5969 D0106
    Carver High School, Houston, TX

    Lowell stands with Milken Educator Award Recipient Justin Singleton surrounded by adulated students after the announcement of his award. Of his experience, Justin said: "This is the best day of my life."

  • lm org M6297 D0095 crop
    Longview Elementary School, Phoenix, AZ

    Lowell is joined by longtime friend and living legend Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda to congratulate teacher Anna Gutierrez on her Milken Educator Award.

  • lm org M6290 D0180 ret
    Dodge Literacy Magnet School, Wishita, KS

    Lowell Milken visits the classroom of Milken Educator Award recipient Amy Stanislowski while she gives an enthusiastic lesson to her students.

  • LM org M5830 D107
    Longfields Elementary School, Forestville, MD

    Lowell Milken speaks with students of Anthony Whittington after his Milken Educator Award announcement in 2004. Of his award, Anthony said, "A high-quality education gets  you into the Super Bowl of Life. Without an education, you're listening to the game on the radio."

Milken Educator Awards

Conceived and created by Lowell Milken, the Milken Educator Awards is the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program. Over 2,700 exemplary teachers, principals and specialists have been surprised with individual, unrestricted $25,000 prizes since 1987.  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, a group whose expertise is a valuable resource to those shaping the future of education.

Over 2,700 Awards have been given out to date, totaling over $68 million. In addition to receiving the award, Milken Educators are given access to a powerful network of education professionals and development tools throughout the rest of their careers.

Recipients are surprised in ceremonies in front of their colleagues and students, often times 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 also for their future potential. The publication Teacher magazine even nicknamed the awards, calling it the “Oscars of Teaching”—new Milken Educators have even been asked for autographs by admiring students!  And while the celebrity treatment is well-deserved, the Awards aren’t 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. 

Below are the official criteria for the Milken Educator Award recipient selection process:

Based on guidelines established by the Milken Family Foundation, participating states’ departments of education appoint blue-ribbon committees that recommend candidates for selection. Identification and selection procedures are confidential, and the program does not include a formal nomination or application procedure.

  • Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;
  • Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;
  • Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight;
  • Early- to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and
  • Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

To read more about the Milken Educator Awards, please visit www.milkeneducatorawards.org.