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For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 9, 2003
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Kimberly Beck 781-338-3105

Unsuspecting Middle School Principal Surprised With $25,000 Award

FRANKLIN - Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today honored Timothy Farmer, the principal of the Remington Middle School, with a bonus check of $25,000 from the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards.

“Our educators are shaping the future of Massachusetts,” Healey said. “But they face enormous challenges and carry heavy responsibilities. The Milken Awards give us the opportunity to celebrate a few outstanding people who by their commitment to excellence stand for the many great educators who teach and inspire our children.”

Timothy Farmer, principal of Remington Middle School, was unaware he had been nominated for the award by his colleagues until his name was announced by Healey at a school assembly. Farmer is one of 100 educators being honored by the Milken Foundation nationally, and one of two in Massachusetts this year. The second Massachusetts award will be announced later this fall.

The recipients each receive a check for $25,000, a trip to Washington D.C. for a two-day conference and awards ceremony, and membership in a network of the nearly 2000 educators from around the country who have been honored since the first award was given in 1987. This marks the seventh year Massachusetts has participated in the program.

“We cannot have excellent schools without excellent educators, and Tim Farmer is an example of one of our best,” said Education Commissioner David Driscoll. “Our students will not succeed without the strong leadership of committed, dedicated and caring teachers and educators like him.”

Farmer has been principal of the Remington Middle School since it opened seven years ago. When he transferred to the school from his post as assistant principal of Dennis Yarmouth Middle School, several of his colleagues came along. A resident of Smithfield, Rhode Island, Farmer has been in education since he graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1984.

“For many of these teachers (this change) meant a two-hour commute each day,” wrote Jefferson Elementary School Principal Jane Hyman in her letter of recommendation to the Milken Foundation. “Such was their loyalty and recognition of his leadership skills that teachers were willing to leave secure positions for the chance to work with Tim to build a new school culture of excellence.”

As the first principal of the school, Farmer was responsible for hiring the entire staff and develop staff and parent handbooks. Known now as a principal with high expectations for his staff and students, he visits classrooms regularly, encourages veteran teachers to mentor their colleagues and is considered a role model for other educators.

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.

Brothers 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. By the end of this year, nearly 2,000 educators from 47 states will have been recognized since the first awards were presented in 1987.

“By choosing to practice in the most noble and important profession, our nation’s talented educators make a lasting contribution to young people’s minds, imaginations and characters,” said Lowell Milken. “We are proud to honor the outstanding work of these gifted teachers, providing them with the recognition they so richly deserve.”

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

Last Updated: October 9, 2003
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