Unsuspecting Dorchester Business Teacher Surprised with $25,000 National Award- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 11, 2001
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman, 781-338-3106 or Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105

Unsuspecting Dorchester Business Teacher Surprised with $25,000 National Award

Dorchester - A 15-year Dorchester High School business teacher was handed an unexpected $25,000 bonus on Thursday when he received one of this year’s 120 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards.

Edward Noonan was unaware he had been selected for the award until the moment his name was called out by Governor Jane Swift at an all-school assembly. Until then, only acting Boston Superintendent Michael Contampasis - a former Milken Award recipient himself - and a handful of others from the school district were in on the secret.

Mr. Noonan is one of three Massachusetts educators being honored this week by the Milken Foundation. The first, Cynthia Latham, a math teacher at Lynn English High School, was surprised at an announcement at her school this morning. The third will be honored 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.

With Governor Swift to present the award was Massachusetts Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, and Dr. Thomas C. Boysen, senior vice president of education for the Milken Family Foundation.

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

"Teachers are one of our most valuable resources," said Governor Swift. "In these rapidly changing times, students look to teachers not only for knowledge, but for reassurance and continuity. The Milken Family Foundation award helps us recognize the best and the brightest teachers and principals in our schools and reward them for providing a top notch education for all of our children."

Commissioner Driscoll praised Mr. Noonan for his accomplishments in and out of the classroom.

"Edward Noonan is a fine educator who has long deserved this type of recognition," he said. "His dedication to students, his drive, and his commitment to learning make him an inspiration to us all."

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino agreed.

"Teachers today have to be part educator, part parent, part psychologist and part friend," he said. "It’s a demanding job - but a rewarding one. I salute Boston's own Edward Noonan, who puts 110 percent into his job each day, as he has for the past 15 years. It's because of teachers like Edward that the future for our young people is a bright one."

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 foundation as a way to reward, attract and retain top educators in the public schools.

The Massachusetts recipients were selected by an independent statewide Blue Ribbon panel of superintendents, teachers, and other education association 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.

Mr. Noonan was singled out for his efforts to help shape school policy, and his commitment to building a partnership with local business leaders to create student internship opportunities. In addition, he was described as a "gifted" with a dynamic and creative teaching style, who has inspired students to not only stay in school, but to pursue higher education after graduation.

"In all of our schools are teachers just like Edward," Commissioner Driscoll said. "I only wish we were able to recognize them all. I am very proud of what he’s accomplished here, and my congratulations go out to his family, and the entire Dorchester 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 www.mff.org.

Last Updated: October 11, 2001

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