Press Releases

Lowell Milken Presents First-Ever National Award of Excellence for Educator Effectiveness

Oct 11, 2018

October 11th, 2018 - Lowell Milken, chairman and founder of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), honored Perry Township Schools in Indiana with NIET's first-ever National Award of Excellence for Educator Effectiveness, including a $50,000 cash prize. The districtwide celebration held at Southport Elementary School featured an exuberant crowd of state dignitaries, district officials, faculty, students and community leaders.

"Perry Township Schools is a shining example of the tremendous achievements that can be made when you create the structures for teachers to lead," said Lowell Milken. "The quality of a district or school cannot exceed the quality of its educators. This fact has been confirmed over and over again with NIET's work in partnership with more than 1,000 districts, 250,000 educators and 2.5 million students. I commend Perry Township's leaders for their courage and conviction in making educator effectiveness the cornerstone of your efforts to make sustained and meaningful improvement in student achievement. Your work as a district is most deserving of this national recognition and sets a standard for others to emulate."

NIET has partnered with Perry Township Schools since 2010 to raise student achievement by putting teacher leaders at the forefront of school improvement. This is being accomplished by concerted efforts that develop formal school-based teacher leadership positions; coordinate weekly collaborative professional learning tailored to the needs of teachers and students; provide an instructional rubric and training on best classroom practices and create a culture of continuous improvement through regular coaching and feedback.

These practices have been at the center of Perry's efforts to meet the needs of its diverse population of more than 16,400 students in 17 schools. A large influx of refugees—with the bulk from Burma—over the past five years has made Perry Township the second fastest-growing district in Indiana. Today, 27 percent of Perry's student population are English Learners—representing the highest percentage in the state. The percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-priced lunch increased from 61 percent in 2013-14 to 71 percent in 2017-18.

NIET's partnership with Perry Township Schools started with two schools—Southport Elementary and Abraham Lincoln Elementary—in 2010. The schools' progress led Perry to expand the innovations districtwide.

In 2012, Perry adopted the NIET Teaching Standards (rubric) as the basis for its teacher evaluation system, and from there, instituted teacher leader roles, weekly collaboration, and opportunities for performance-based compensation at each of the additional schools. District officials play a critical role by visiting professional learning meetings and classrooms every week. They are not only present for those important conversations, but also provide high-quality coaching to the school-level leaders.

To read more about the work of NIET and the National Award for Excellence for Educator Effectiveness, visit


Lowell Milken Presents Steven Gamache With Milken Award in New Orleans

Jennifer Williams Surprised with Louisiana Milken Educator Award

2019 Lowell Milken Founder's Award Goes to Wildflower School in Goodyear, AZ

STEM Teacher Nichole Anderson Receives Milken Educator Award

2010-19 Missouri Milken Educator Therese Shain Shares Big News

Angie Beavin wins Milken Educator Award in Kentucky

Erica Stephens Accepting 2018 Tenneesee Milken Educator Award

Oklahoma Kindergarten Teacher Hailey Couch Wins 2018 Milken Award

Kansas 2018 Milken Educator Award Recipient Linda Dishman

West Goshen Elementary School Named 2018 TAP Founder's Award Recipient

Teacher Theresa Cross Surprised with Milken Educator Award

Principal Debreon Davis Wins Milken Educator Award

Katherine Watkins Surprised with Milken Educator Award

Knoxville Teacher Paula Franklin Receives Milken Educator Award

Lisa Rodgers Announced as this year's Colorado Milken Educator Award Recipient

Lowell Milken's James Bryant Conant Award Acceptance Speech

Lowell Milken Congratulates 2015 Milken Educator John Lary

Lowell Milken Speaks at 2015 Chapman University Commencement

Lowell Milken with Students at Friendly House Academia del Pueblo Elementary Charter School

Lowell Milken Keynote Address at 2017 TAP Conference

Felicia Casto wins Milken Educator Award at Rim Rock Elementary

Lowell Milken Speaks with Students at East End Prep in Nashville, TN

Ryan James Presented with 2017 Milken Educator Award in Richmond, Virginia

Lowell Milken, Tom Torlakson and Wayne Jospeh at 2017 Milken Educator Award Presentation

Lowell Milken Accepts 2017 James Bryant Conant Award

Media Interviews at Devon Willis-Jones Milken Educator Awards Assembly


Lowell Milken Presents Music Teacher Nicolas Jacques with Nevada Milken Educator Award

Computer Teacher Nichole Anderson Surprise with Milken Educator Award

Missouri Teacher Therese Shain Receives Milken Educator Award

Angie Beavin Surprised with Kentucky Milken Educator Award

Math Teacher Erica Stephens Wins Tennessee Milken Award in Memphis, TN

Heather Hurt Announced as 2018-19 Alabama Milken Educator Awardee

Oklahoma Kindergarten Teacher Hailey Couch Wins Milken Award

Perry Township Schools Receives First-Ever National Award of Excellence for Educator Effectiveness

AZ Science Teacher Jonathan Cadena Surprised with Milken Educator Award

Math Teacher Angela Boxie Wins Milken Educator Award

Katherine Watkins Surprised with Milken Educator Award

Knoxville Teacher Paula Franklin Surprised with Milken Educator Award

Chino Hills Teacher Alexis King Receives 2017 Milken Educator Award

G.W. Carver Primary School Wins 2017 TAP Founder's Award

Arizona Teacher Ana Gutierrez Receives Milken Educator Award

Principal Wendy Shirey Receives Nevada Milken Educator Award

Sarah Szymanski Wins Colorado Milken Award