Four Massachusetts Educators Receive $25,000 National Award- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Friday, September 18, 1998
Contact:Jan O'Keefe Feldman

Four Massachusetts Educators Receive $25,000 National Award

Malden - A Dorchester elementary school principal today became the fourth and final Massachusetts recipient of a national award of $25,000, given to only 160 educators across the country in 1998.

Massachusetts Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll presented the award this afternoon to the unsuspecting educator in Boston, thus completing a series of surprise announcements which began Thursday at two schools in Holden and Bourne, and at a school this morning in Ipswich.

William Henderson, principal at the Patrick O'Hearn School in Dorchester, was recognized today by state and national officials as one of four Massachusetts educators, and among the 160 newest nationwide recipients of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, which carries with it a $25,000 unrestricted award and membership in a network of more than one thousand other distinguished past Milken Educator Award recipients from around the nation.

Henderson was presented the surprise award today at a ceremony orchestrated by Commissioner Driscoll. Two other winners, Wayne Boisselle, a fifth-grade teacher at the Dawson Elementary School in Holden, and Susan Pandiani, a third-grade teacher at the Ella F. Hoxie School in Bourne, received awards at their schools yesterday, and Sheila Smith, a fourth-grade teacher at the Winthrop Elementary School in Ipswich, was recognized at her school this morning.

Commissioner Driscoll said, "All of these educators have exceptional talent, and it is a tremendous honor that Massachusetts has four recipients this year. I am pleased that we are a part of the Milken Family Foundation program, and I extend my hearty congratulations to all the winners, their families and their school communities who share in receiving this honor."

During the week, 160 educators in 38 states across the country are being named the latest recipients of the prestigious award, which was established to provide public and financial recognition to teachers, principals and other education professionals who are advancing excellence in education. In addition to the financial award and educational network opportunities, recipients are provided with a variety of professional resources to help them cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts. They will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles in June of 1999 for the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference.

"The Milken Educator Awards program is now entering its second decade of recognizing and rewarding excellence in American education," said Lowell Milken, President of the Milken Family Foundation. "As the size of our awards program has grown, so has the opportunity to focus on what's right about American education by recognizing the achievements of individual educators and encouraging more young people to follow in their footsteps."

Last year, eight educators were recognized because it was Massachusetts' first year in the program. Last year's winners were: Michael Contompasis, headmaster at Boston Latin School in Boston; Alma Wright, teacher at the William Monroe Trotter Elementary School in Roxbury; Kevin McArdle, principal at the Heath Brook School in Tewksbury; Maria Ferrandini, teacher at the Charles C. Cashman Elementary School in Amesbury; Alice Garcia, teacher at the City View School in Worcester; Joan Vohl Hamilton, teacher at the Fairview Veterans Memorial Middle School in Chicopee; Patricia A. Clem, principal at Southwick-Tolland's Powder Mill Middle School in Southwick; and David Vito, teacher at North Attleborough High School in North Attleborough.

Massachusetts recipients of the award were selected by an independent blue-ribbon

committee appointed by Commissioner Driscoll. The committee was comprised of representatives of education associations, members of the Board of Education,

superintendents and principals. Predetermined criteria for the award include exceptional educational talent and promise, distinguished achievement in developing innovative educational curricula, programs and/or teaching methods, outstanding ability to instill in students character and self-confidence, and commitment to professional development.

The Milken Family Foundation was established in 1982. Since then, the Foundation has worked with more than one thousand organizations that in countless ways share its purpose of discovering inventive ways of helping people help themselves and those around them to lead productive and satisfying lives.

The Milken Educator Awards program was begun in 1985, with the first awards given out in 1987. The goal of the program is to celebrate and reward educators who are making great strides in improving our nation's education system, foster professional development and career enhancement, encourage Milken Educators to shape education policy in their states, elevate the teaching profession through public recognition of excellence and encourage talented men and women to enter the field of education. To receive additional information on the Milken Educator Awards, the National Education Conference or other Milken Family Foundation programs, call 310-998-2800 or visit their internet site at

Last Updated: September 18, 1998

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