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For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 11, 2001
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman, 781-338-3106 or Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105

Unsuspecting Lynn Math Teacher Surprised with $25,000 National Award

Lynn - A 23-year Lynn English High School math teacher was handed an unexpected $25,000 bonus on Thursday when she received one of this year’s 120 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards.

Catherine Latham was unaware she had been selected for the award until the moment her name was called out by Dr. Thomas Boysen of the Milken Family Foundation at an all-school assembly. Until that moment, only a handful of people in the district, including Lynn Superintendent James Mazareas, were in on the secret.

Latham is one of three Massachusetts educators being honored this week by the Milken Foundation. A second will be honored Thursday afternoon, and the third will be surprised on Friday.

The recipients all receive a check for $25,000, a trip to Los Angeles for the two-day National Milken Family Education Conference and awards ceremony, and membership in a network of more than 1,700 other educators from around the country who have been honored in past years.

Also on hand to present the award with Dr. Boysen, senior vice president of education for foundation, was Massachusetts Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll.

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

"Catherine Latham is a fine educator who has long deserved this type of recognition," Commissioner Driscoll said. "Her dedication to students, her dynamic teaching style, and her commitment to learning make her an inspiration to us all."

Established in 1985, the award is given annually to unsuspecting teachers, principals and education professionals from around the country. Known as the "Oscars of Teaching," the awards were created by the Milken Family Foundation as a way to reward, attract and retain top educators in the public schools.

The Massachusetts recipients were selected by a statewide Blue Ribbon panel of superintendents, teachers, and other education representatives.

Predetermined criteria for the award include exceptional educational talent and promise; skill in developing innovative and creative educational curricula, programs and/or teaching methods; commitment to professional development, and ability to instill self-confidence in students.

Ms. Latham was singled out for her commitment to the education of both her students and herself. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and has been a state finalist for two years for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics. A teacher of AP Calculus, her students have scored consistently high on the advanced placement exam. Her peers in Lynn regularly turn to her for guidance, and she has also given presentations at national conventions to share her views and practices with educators from other states.

"In all of our schools are teachers just like Catherine," said Commissioner Driscoll. "I only wish we were able to recognize them all. I am very proud of her, and my congratulations go out to her family, and the Lynn English High School community."

Lowell and Michael Milken established the Milken Family Foundation in 1982 in an effort to support education and health care nationwide. The Milken Educator Awards were created by Lowell Milken in 1985, and has since grown into the largest teacher recognition program in the United States.

By the end of October, the Foundation will have presented nearly $45 million to more than 1,750 educators from 44 states.

"Outstanding educators are the essential ingredient in student achievement, encouraging children to perform to their fullest abilities and to develop a love of learning," Lowell Milken said. "Each and every day, these educators provide students with the confidence and tools to succeed."

To receive additional information on the Milken Educator Awards, the National Education Conference or other Milken Family Foundation programs, call 310-998-2820, or visit their Web site at

Last Updated: October 11, 2001
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