On November 13, 2015, a Randolph High School social studies teacher was surprised with the prestigious 2015 Milken Educator Award.
Michelle Ryan is the state's 43rd Milken Award winner and the second from Randolph. She is the only Massachusetts recipient in 2015-16 and one of up to 40 recipients across the country this school year. The Milken Award recognizes exemplary elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education. The award comes with an unrestricted financial award of $25,000.
"Congratulations to Michelle Ryan for the recognition of her inspiring instruction and her dedicated service to Randolph's students," said Education Secretary James A. Peyser. "Teachers like Ms. Ryan are one of the reasons Massachusetts has vibrant schools and a strong future."
During an assembly at the school, Ms. Ryan was presented his award by Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a Milken recipient herself, and Secretary Peyser.
"Michelle Ryan exemplifies the hard work and professionalism Massachusetts educators put in every day as teachers, mentors and learners," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester. "It is a pleasure to honor Ms. Ryan, who helps her students meet the high expectations she has for them. She also holds herself to a high standard and is constantly improving her practice and helping to ensure her school serves all students well."
Ms. Ryan is chairwoman of the Social Studies Department at Randolph High School. A colleague described her as passionate about her work and able to tackle difficult conversations in a professional, engaging way. A supervisor described Ms. Ryan as a humble woman whose classroom is one in which students are always working and always having fun.
Ms. Ryan, a Boston resident, received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Ms. Ryan has worked at Randolph High for eight years and also works with students over the summer through the Summer Work and Learning Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical-Milton. Before coming to Randolph, she was a substitute teacher in Boston Public Schools and an instructor and program assistant for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Saturday Engineering Enrichment Program.
"Through her encouraging words, actions and instruction, Michelle demonstrates high standards and the belief in all students' ability to meet them," Dr. Foley said. "Her lessons require students to build their understanding of the big ideas and the essential concepts of material. This is an example for other educators to follow. She will be an incredible asset to the Milken Educator family."
The Milken Family Foundation first presented the Milken Educator Awards in 1987. Massachusetts joined the program in 1997. Since then, more than $1 million has been awarded to recipients in Massachusetts. Recipients can use their $25,000 award in any way they choose. Awards alternate yearly between elementary and secondary educators.
For more information on the Milken Educator Awards program and photos and video from the surprise announcement, visit their website at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/newsroom/media-kit.