Northborough Teacher Surprised With National Honor and $25,000 Award- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112

Northborough Teacher Surprised With National Honor and $25,000 Award

NORTHBOROUGH - A Northborough teacher received an unexpected $25,000 bonus at an all-school assembly on Tuesday when he received a 2008 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

Chris Louis Sardella is a 5th grade teacher at Marion E. Zeh Elementary School in Northborough. He joins nearly 2,300 other national educators who have previously received the award, and is one of 80 receiving the award this year. Sardella is the 36th teacher in Massachusetts to receive the recognition.

"Chris exemplifies a dedication to his craft and a drive to see all students achieve at high levels that is at the heart of this prestigious award," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "In Massachusetts we have many educators like Chris who demonstrate the hard work and determination necessary to make a difference in the lives of each of their students. I applaud Chris and congratulate him on this well-deserved honor."

Known as the "Oscars of Teaching," the Milken awards were established in 1985 by the Milken Family Foundation. Recipients each receive a check for $25,000, a trip to Los Angeles for a conference and awards ceremony, and membership in the network of previous Milken winners. This is the 12th year Massachusetts has participated in the program.

Sardella's award was presented by Dr. Jane Foley, the senior vice president for the Milken Family Foundation, and Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Deputy Commissioner Jeff Nellhaus.

In nominating him for the award, Sardella's colleagues described him as being considerate of both his fellow teachers and the needs and abilities of his students. He is known for using innovative strategies to engage his students, setting high standards for his classroom and providing each child with the additional support they need to succeed.

"Chris is an excellent role model as a teacher and as a colleague," said fellow teacher Jennifer Phipps. "His students reach higher goals than they themselves think are possible. His dedication to his students and his work are truly an inspiration to me."

Marion E. Zeh Elementary School Principal Susan Whitten agreed.

"Chris' students thrive on the learning that takes place in his classroom," she wrote in her nomination. "At this point in his career his first students have graduated from high school and have taken the passion for learning which Chris instilled in them to college. It is not unusual for students and parents to comment on the influence he had on their development."

Massachusetts' recipients are 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.

For more information on the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards program, visit the Foundation's website at

Last Updated: October 28, 2008

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