Educator Recognition Programs
2006 Massachusetts Milken Award Winners
Milken Family Foundation Mission Statement
The purpose of the Milken Family Foundation is to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research.
In Education, the Foundation is committed to:
- Strengthening the profession by recognizing and rewarding outstanding educators, and by expanding their professional leadership and policy influence.
- Attracting, developing, motivating and retaining the best talent to the teaching profession by means of a comprehensive, whole school reform.
- Stimulating creativity and productivity among young people and adults through programs that encourage learning as a lifelong process.
- Building vibrant communities by involving people of all ages in programs that contribute to the revitalization of their community and to the wellbeing of its residents.
In Medical Research, the Foundation is committed to:
- Advancing and supporting basic and applied medical research - especially in the areas of prostate cancer and epilepsy - and recognizing and rewarding outstanding scientists in these areas.
- Supporting basic health care programs to assure the well-being of community members of all ages.
A wealth of human potential is represented by individual people of all ages whose vision and purpose make them dynamic forces for change. The Foundation's mission is to help realize this potential by giving the support that enables people to create and carry out effective, lasting solutions to the challenges facing our communities.
South Elementary School
Over the past several years, principal Nicholas Leonardos has led a transformation of the school culture at South Elementary School in Stoneham. By galvanizing staff, parents, local businesses and the community, he has brought consistency and rigor to the elementary curriculum and increased student achievement. Mr. Leonardos led the campus in acquiring a grant to pilot the district's first-ever full-day kindergarten program. He coordinated a two-year renovation of the entire building and instituted new programs that address early literacy, remediation and alignment with state standards. Mr. Leonardos also helped secure funding from a local business for an after-school homework club in which students receive extra help preparing for MCAS.
When a reduction in the town's funding led to job cuts in the school department, Mr. Leonardos convinced town officials to eliminate funding in other areas, avoiding further reductions in school staff. At South Elementary, it's apparently not the money that matters - it's the principal.
Second Grade Teacher
Curtis Guild Elementary School
East Boston, Massachusetts
Though most of Amanda Sequin's second graders at Curtis Guild Elementary School in East Boston are recent immigrants to the United States - with a wide variety of nationalities, family lifestyles and economic backgrounds - she helps them all develop their English reading and writing skills quickly and with proficiency. By implementing a balanced literacy workshop model and enriching it with phonics, word study and other strategies, Ms. Sequin has achieved impressive results. Her students typically gain an average of six reading levels from September to January, and almost all of her students score at the proficient or advanced level in writing. As the school's in-house English/Language Arts (ELA)coach, Ms. Sequin leads and facilitates collaborative peer coaching and common planning time sessions. She takes the time to build strong ties between her classroom and her students' homes, making special arrangements to meet with working parents and explain their children's progress. Her highly effective instruction has undoubtedly helped many of her newly immigrant students - and their families - feel right at home.