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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Shawn Feddeman 617-725-4025

Unsuspecting Boston Fourth Grade Teacher Surprised With $25,000 Award

BOSTON - Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today visited the Richard J. Murphy School in Dorchester to present 4th grade teacher Holly Concannon with a $25,000 award from the Milken Family Foundational National Educator Awards.

“Governor Romney and I are proud to support the Commonwealth’s educators,” said Healey. “We will continue to do everything we can to live up to the dedication and spirit exemplified by today’s Milken Award winners.”

Concannon, who has taught at the Murphy School for five years, is one of the nation’s 100 educators receiving the Milken award and one of two in Massachusetts. The second recipient is Michael Aw, a sixth grade teacher at Hopedale Memorial Elementary School in Hopedale.

“We cannot have excellent schools without excellent teachers and these two educators are two of our very best,” said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. “Their efforts in the classroom, and their commitment to their students is not only commendable, it’s awe-inspiring. Their leadership and dedication helps make our schools better every day for our children.”

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 nearly 2,000 educators from around the nation who have received this award since it was first given in 1987. This is the eighth year Massachusetts has participated in the program.

Concannon was named the Boston Public School’s Teacher of the Year in 2003, and was one of five finalists for the statewide award in 2004. Colleagues noted her ability to get positive results from struggling students, her leadership skills with both students and other teachers and her commitment to educating the “whole” child.

“I am proud that Holly is receiving this well-deserved national recognition,” said Boston Superintendent Thomas Payzant. “Every day she demonstrates what is required to meet the high standards of the teaching profession. She is a terrific representative for hundreds of colleagues who are making a positive difference in the lives of Boston Public Schools students.

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.

An independent statewide blue ribbon panel of principals, teachers and other educators selected the Massachusetts recipients. Predetermined criteria for the award include exceptional educational talent and promise, skill in developing innovative and creative curricula and programs, 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.

“Improving American education strengthens the vitality of American democracy,” said Lowell Milken. “By shining a light on the excellence of these 100 educators, and the nearly 2,000 others we have honored over the past 18 years, we hope to show how crucial their efforts are to the goal of providing every child in America with the opportunity for a high quality education.”

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

Last Updated: October 13, 2004
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