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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

Unsuspecting Boston Teacher Honored With Surprise $25,000 Award

BOSTON - A Boston elementary school teacher got an unexpected $25,000 bonus from education officials on Tuesday when she was lured into a school-wide assembly and learned she had received the 2006 Milken Family Foundation National Educator award.

Amanda Sequin, a sheltered English Immersion teacher at the Curtis Guild Elementary School, was unaware she had even been recommended for the national award until her name was called out.

“Excellent teachers are what make our schools the very best,” said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. “Amanda’s efforts in the classroom, and commitment to her students is not only commendable, it’s awe-inspiring.”

Boston Mayor Tom Menino agreed.

“I am thrilled that the Milken Foundation has once again chosen an outstanding Boston educator for this prestigious award,” he said. “This gives us yet another opportunity to celebrate the wonderful things that are happening in the Boston Public Schools.”

Sequin is one of nearly 100 educators nationally receiving the Milken award, and one of two in Massachusetts. The second recipient is Nicholas Leonardos, principal of the South Elementary School in Stoneham. He was also honored at his school on Tuesday.

Recipients each receive a check for $25,000, a trip to Los Angeles for a conference and awards ceremony, and membership in a network of nearly 2,200 educators from around the nation who have received this award since it was first given in 1987. This is the 10th year Massachusetts has participated in the program.

Sequin, now in her ninth year of teaching, was described in her recommendation letter as a “reflective and continuous learner.” She was lauded for her commitment to working with English language learners and turning her classroom into an exciting learning environment for all children.

“Amanda is unique in motivating and enabling her pupils to strive to achieve their highest intellectual, social and emotional potential,” wrote Sequin’s thesis advisor Dr. Martha Julia Sellers of Tufts University. “She somehow finds the way to engage each child differently according to their needs so that they become eager and delighted to learn.”

Boston Public Schools Superintendent Michael Contompasis, a former Milken recipient himself, congratulated Sequin on the honor, and noted that she is just one of the many talented teachers in the city’s school system.

“Today is a great day of celebration of Amanda's hard work and dedication to her students,” he said. “We should also take this opportunity to thank her colleagues and all teachers who work tirelessly to ensure all of our students are provided with the high quality education that they deserve.”

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 principals, teachers and other educators. 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.

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

Last Updated: October 3, 2006
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