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For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

Unsuspecting Weymouth third grade teacher surprised with $25,000 national award

WEYMOUTH - An elementary school teacher got an unexpected $25,000 bonus on Tuesday when he was lured into a school-wide assembly and learned he was named one of two Massachusetts’ recipients of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards.

Michael Stanton teaches third grade at the Ralph Talbot Primary School in Weymouth. He was unaware he had been nominated for the award by his colleagues at the school until his name was called out by Governor Jane Swift.

Stanton is one of two educators being honored this week by the Milken Foundation. The first award was given on Tuesday to Mary Cowhey, a first grade teacher at the Jackson Street School in Northampton.

The recipients all receive a check for $25,000, a trip to Los Angeles for a two-day National Milken Family Education Conference and awards ceremony, and membership in a network of more than 1,900 educators from around the country who have been honored in the past years.

This is the sixth year Massachusetts has participated in the program.

“I am delighted that yet again several Massachusetts teachers have been selected by the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards," said Governor Jane Swift. “The Milken Foundation has discovered what we in Massachusetts have know for a long time -- our teachers are among the most dedicated and talented in the nation. Congratulations to Michael on behalf of the Commonwealth.”

Commissioner Driscoll agreed.

“One of the best parts of my job is being able to recognize teachers like Michael who do exceptional work, every single day,” he said. “Michael’s efforts in the classroom, and his commitment to his students and their families make him an inspiration to us all.”

Nominated by his colleagues, Stanton was noted for his motivation, his creativity in the classroom, and his efforts to integrate the curriculum into school wide events that support community events. One example of that was Red Feather Day, a Japanese holiday in which students from his class work with the school to raise money for community projects. In a letter of recommendation, Principal Garry F. Pelletier wrote that Stanton “is the consummate professional.”

“He is dedicated to the profession, tremendously respected by his colleagues and members of the community, and will be an outstanding leader in the future,” Pelletier wrote.

Established in 1985, the Milken award is given annually to unsuspecting teachers, principals and educators from around the country. Known as the “Oscars of Teaching” the awards were created by the foundation as a way to reward, attract and retain top educators in the nation’s public schools.

The Massachusetts recipients were selected by an independent statewide Blue Ribbon panel of superintendents, teachers and other educators. Predetermined criteria for the award include exceptional educational talent and promise, skill in developing innovative and creative educational curricula, programs and/or teaching method; commitment to professional development and ability to instill self confidence in students.

Lowell and Michael Milken established the Milken Family Foundation in 1982 to support education and health care nationwide. The educator recognition program is the largest in the United States. This year 100 educators in 46 states will receive the award.

Since its inception, the Foundation has given out $47 million to recipients.

“Dedicated and talented teachers are the cornerstone of a quality education for our children,” said Lowell Milken. “We salute the outstanding work of these inspiring educators as they help guide and ensure the success of future generations.”

For more information about the Milken National Educator Awards, check the Foundation’s Web site at

Last Updated: October 10, 2002
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