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For Immediate Release
Friday, October 12, 2001
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman, 781-338-3106 or Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105

Unsuspecting Worcester English Teacher Receives $25,000 National Award

Worcester - A 17-year English teacher at the University Park Campus School was handed an unexpected $25,000 bonus on Friday when she received one of this year’s 120 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards.

June Eressy was unaware she had been selected for the award until the moment her name was called out by Governor Jane Swift at an all-school assembly. Until then, only a handful of people in the district, including Worcester Superintendent James Caradonio, were in on the secret.

Ms. Eressy is one of three Massachusetts educators being honored this week by the Milken Foundation. Cynthia Latham, a math teacher at Lynn English High School, and Edward Noonan, a business teacher at Dorchester High School, were honored at their schools on Thursday.

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, 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 agreed, and praised Ms. Eressy for her accomplishments.

"June Eressy is a gifted educator who has long deserved this type of recognition," Commissioner Driscoll said. "Her dedication to her students, her commitment to learning and her love of teaching 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 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.

Described as a teacher who "works magic" in the classroom, Ms. Eressy was selected for her willingness to mentor other teachers, and commitment to pushing her students to be voracious readers. Until this year, Ms. Eressy was the school’s only English teacher and is credited with preparing her students so well for the MCAS exam that not a single one failed the English/Language Arts portion of the test. She has also been named this year’s Teacher of the Year for the Worcester public schools.

"In all of our schools are teachers just like June," Commissioner Driscoll said. "I only wish we were able to recognize them all. I am very proud of what she’s accomplished here, and my congratulations go out to her family, and the entire University Park Campus 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 12, 2001
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