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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 4, 2000
Contact:Darrell S. Pressley, 781-338-3126 or
Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105

Fourth Massachusetts Educator Receives $25,000 National Award

Malden - A Walpole elementary school teacher today became the fourth and final Massachusetts recipient of a $25,000 national award, given to only 145 educators across the country in 2000.

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Jane M. Swift and Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll presented the award at 10:15 a.m. this morning to the unsuspecting educator in Walpole. Earlier today, they presented the third award to an elementary school principal in Worcester. Yesterday, they presented the first two awards to elementary school teachers in Boston and Revere.

Holli Armstrong, a second grade teacher at the Old Post Road Elementary School in Walpole, was recognized today by state and national officials as one of the 145 newest nationwide recipients of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, which carries with it a $25,000 unrestricted award and membership in a network of more than one thousand other distinguished past Milken Educator Award recipients from around the nation.

Lieutenant Governor Swift said, "Teachers are the most important ingredient in our educational system because of the direct impact they have on students every day in the classroom. They deserve our support, admiration and the public recognition that the prestigious Milken Family Foundation award brings. The award helps us to identify and recognize the best and brightest teachers and principals in our schools and reward them for their excellent work in giving our students the first-rate education they deserve."

Commissioner Driscoll said, "Holli Armstrong is a dedicated educator with exceptional talent. I am pleased that we are a part of the Milken Family Foundation program, and I extend my hearty congratulations to her, her family and her school community, who share in receiving this honor."

During this week, 145 educators in 42 states across the country are being named as the latest recipients of the prestigious award, which was established to provide public and financial recognition to teachers, principals and other education professionals who are advancing excellence in education. In addition to the financial award and educational network opportunities, recipients are provided with a variety of professional resources to help them cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts. They will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles in June of 2001 for the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference.

The Massachusetts award recipients were selected by an independent blue-ribbon

committee appointed by Commissioner Driscoll. The committee was comprised of representatives of education associations, superintendents and principals. Predetermined criteria for the award include exceptional educational talent and promise, distinguished achievement in developing innovative educational curricula, programs and/or teaching methods, outstanding ability to instill in students character and self-confidence in students and commitment to professional development.

The Milken Family Foundation was established in 1982 to support education and health care nationwide and the Milken Educator Awards were initiated in 1985. The goal of the program is to celebrate and reward educators who are making great strides in improving the nation's education system, foster professional development and career enhancement, encourage Milken Educators to shape education policy in their states, elevate the teaching profession through public recognition of excellence and encourage talented men and women to enter the field of education.

Armstrong joins Mary Meade-Montaque, principal of the Roosevelt Elementary School in Worcester, Elaine Swain, a Special Needs teacher at the Murphy Elementary School in Boston, and Lucille Ferragamo, a fifth grade teacher at the Whelan Elementary School in Revere as a 2000 Milken award recipient. They join 16 other Massachusetts educators in receiving the prestigious Milken recognition since Massachusetts began participating in the program in 1997. The previous winners are: Charles McAfee, former principal at the Clarence R. Edwards Middle School in Dorchester and now principal at Madison Park High School in Boston; Janice Smith, an English/language arts teacher at the Weymouth Junior High School in Weymouth; James DeProfio, a Health and Virtual High School teacher at Lowell High School in Lowell; Karin Orbon, a Computer, Business, Accounting and Virtual High School teacher at North Brookfield High School in North Brookfield; William Henderson, principal at the Patrick O'Hearn School in Dorchester; Wayne Boisselle, a fifth-grade teacher at the Dawson Elementary School in Holden and now the technology resource administrator for Holden Public Schools; Susan Pandiani, a former third-grade teacher at the Ella F. Hoxie School in Bourne and now a sixth grade teacher at the Bourne Middle School in Bourne; Sheila Smith, a fourth-grade teacher at the Winthrop Elementary School in Ipswich; Michael Contompasis, former headmaster at Boston Latin School in Boston and now Chief Operating Officer of Boston Public Schools; Alma Wright, teacher at the William Monroe Trotter Elementary School in Roxbury; Kevin McArdle, former principal at the Heath Brook School in Tewksbury and now principal at the Ryan Middle School in Tewksbury; Maria Ferrandini, teacher at the Charles C. Cashman Elementary School in Amesbury; Alice Garcia, teacher at the City View School in Worcester; Joan Vohl Hamilton, teacher at the Fairview Veterans Memorial Middle School in Chicopee; Patricia A. Clem, principal at Southwick-Tolland's Powder Mill Middle School in Southwick; and David Vito, teacher at North Attleborough High School in North Attleborough.

To receive additional information on the Milken Educator Awards, the National Education Conference or other Milken Family Foundation programs, call 310-998-2800 or visit their www.mff.org.



Last Updated: October 4, 2000
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