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Milken Educator Award


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The Milken Educator Awards provide recognition and unrestricted financial awards of $25,000 each to exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and other specialists who are furthering excellence in our nation’s schools. Each year, awards are presented to some of America’s finest K-12 educators. The largest teacher recognition program in the U.S., the Milken Educator Awards were created to reward, retain and attract the highest quality K-12 educators to the profession. Each Milken Educator receives an unrestricted financial award of $25,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to participate in the annual Milken National Education Conference.

The Milken Educator Awards program was established by the Milken Family Foundation in 1985. The first Awards were presented in 1987. Iowa joined the Milken Educator Awards Program in 1993.

National Statistics

  • Up to 40 new 2012 Milken Educators selected from across the U.S.
  • Over $63 million presented in cash awards to recipients
  • More than 2,500 Award recipients since the program's inception
  • Awards alternate yearly between elementary and secondary educators

Iowa Statistics

  • $25,000 to be awarded in Iowa
  • 45 recipients since program began in Iowa
  • $1,125,000 awarded in Iowa since program began in 1993

Milken Educator Network
The Milken Educator Network, composed of more than 2,500 Milken Educators from across the nation, serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards, and others shaping the future of education.

Milken National Education Conference
A gathering of educators, policymakers and business leaders working to improve the state of American education, the Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference has been held annually in Los Angeles since 1990. The Conference includes professional development activities and is highlighted by the celebration of the new Milken Educators and the presentation of their $25,000 award checks.

Milken Family Foundation
The Milken Family Foundation was established in 1982 by Lowell and Michael Milken to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Santa Monica, California-based Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research. For more information, visit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Milken Educators from Iowa

Name Year District
(at the time of the award)
(at the time of the award)
Jason Plourde 2008 Council Bluffs Washington Elementary School
Davis Eidahl 2005 Ottumwa Evans Middle School
Tammy Duehr 2004 Dubuque Eisenhower Elementary School
Gregory O'Connell 2004 Cedar Rapids Grant Wood Elementary School
Russell Adams 2003 MOC-Floyd Valley MOC-Floyd Valley High School
Sara Coleman 2003 Norwalk Norwalk High School
Ying Ying Chen 2002 College Prairie Crest Elementary School
Paula Olson 2002 West Des Moines Phenix Elementary Early Childhood Center
Thomas Paulsen 2001 Carroll Carroll High School
Gail B. Wortmann 2001 Ottumwa Ottumwa High School
Denise Carlson 2000 Gilbert Gilbert Elementary School
Kari Ringgenberg-Pingel 2000 Pella Jefferson Elementary School
Roger Wilcox 2000 Waverly-Shell Rock West Cedar Elementary School
Susan Gnagy 1999 Central Central Community High School
Sue Lynn Pettit 1999 Waterloo Central Middle School
Sara Pralle 1999 CAL CAL-Dows High School
Dennis Wulf 1999 Norwalk Norwalk Middle School
Janis Brendeland 1998 Nevada Central Elementary School
Judith Brueggeman 1998 Harris-Lake Park Harris-Lake Park Elementary School
Juli Goerend 1998 North Fayette Fayette Elementary School
Timothy Tutt 1998 Des Moines Hanawalt Elementary School
Sharon Fisher 1997 Des Moines North High School
Annette Hagelberg 1997 West Delaware West Delaware High School
Peter Hathaway 1997 Sioux City Woodrow Wilson Middle School
Gerald Waugh 1997 Jefferson-Scranton Jefferson-Scranton High School
Judy Christiansen 1996 Harlan West Ridge Elementary School
James Ehmen 1996 Janesville Janesville Elementary School
Marie Hawkins 1996 Iowa City Irving Weber Elementary School
Ken Krumwiede 1996 Davenport Eisenhower Elementary School
Jill Anderson 1995 Norwalk Norwalk Middle School
Shannon C'de Baca 1995 Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson High School
Donald Moody 1995 Dubuque Hempstead Senior High School
Keith Robinson 1995 Maple Valley Maple Valley-Anthon Oto High School
Mary Wilcynski 1995 Cedar Rapids Metro High School
Glenn Connor 1994 Ames Kate Mitchell Elementary School
Kenneth Esveld 1994 Eldora-New Providence Eldora-New Providence Middle School
Joan McShane 1994 Davenport Jefferson Elementary School
Susan Olesen 1994 Greenfield (Nodaway Valley) Greenfield Elementary School
Diane Weitz 1994   Carter Lake Elementary School
Thomas Fish 1993 Ankeny Ankeny High School
Ronald Fox 1993 Council Bluffs Lewis Central Senior High School
Darlene Hughes 1993 Calmus-Wheatland Calamus-Wheatland Jr/Sr. High School
Hector Ibarra 1993 West Branch West Branch Middle School
Nancy Mounts 1993 Sioux City North High School
Elaine Smith-Bright 1993 West Des Moines Indian Hills Junior High School



Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on November 24, 2017 at 3:28am.