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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

Middle School Mathematics Teacher in Milton Receives National Milken Award and $25,000 Award

MILTON - A middle school mathematics teacher who returned to work at the very school he attended as a child was surprised today with a 2013 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award and an unrestricted financial award of $25,000.

James Moonan, who teaches mathematics to sixth graders at Charles S. Pierce Middle School in Milton, is the state's 41st Milken Award winner. He is the only Massachusetts recipient in 2013-14 and one of up to 40 recipients across the country this school year. The Milken Award provides public recognition to exemplary elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and specialists who are furthering excellence in education.

"James understands that we have a stake in the next generation, and to leave this Commonwealth better than we found it, we must invest in the young minds that are our future," said Governor Deval Patrick. "My sincerest congratulations and appreciation go out James and the Pierce Middle School. Thank you for inspiring us all."

"Congratulations to James, his students and the Charles S. Pierce Middle School for this great honor," said Education Secretary Matthew Malone. "The best part of my job is being able to visit schools and meet with teachers who motivate and inspire their students to achieve at the highest levels. James is one of those teachers and we are lucky to have him teaching here in Massachusetts."

During an assembly at the school today, an unsuspecting Moonan was presented his award by Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a former Milken recipient herself, and Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester.

"James Moonan embodies the exceptional teaching we see every day in classrooms across the Commonwealth," said Commissioner Chester. "What sets James and other outstanding educators apart is their commitment to their own professional growth to ensure that they and their students alike continuously improve."

Moonan is one of three sixth grade mathematics teachers at Pierce Middle School. His direct teaching and additional support of students has contributed significantly to the growth of students over the past five years. The percent of the school's grade 6 students scoring Proficient or higher on MCAS has increased from 66 percent in 2009 to 83 percent in 2013. According to the 2013 MCAS results, Pierce Middle School sixth graders scored at the 89 percentile in mathematics compared to sixth graders across the Commonwealth.

Colleagues describe Moonan as a passionate educator who inspires students of all abilities, mentors new teachers, engages parents, and takes on a leadership role at the school. His leadership includes playing a key role in curriculum development to align Milton Public Schools' mathematics program with the state's new Curriculum Frameworks in Mathematics, which incorporate the Common Core State Standards, designing common assessments, looking collaboratively at data student work with fellow educators, working to ensure that special education students at Pierce receive the support they need, and facilitating professional development on a number of topics.

Milton Public Schools Superintendent Mary Gormley has known Moonan since he was an elementary school student and she was his principal.

"James Moonan is one of the most dynamic and effective, yet humble educators I have had the privilege and pleasure to work with and observe during my forty years in public education," said Superintendent Gormley. "Jimmy not only understands the process of how to teach, but he also is able to connect with his students on a personal level that is unparalleled. I am proud to include Jimmy as one of Milton Public Schools' finest examples of what a teacher should be."

Moonan received a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a master of secondary education from Emmanuel College. He has taught mathematics at Pierce Middle School since 2007. Moonan founded his school's Community Leadership Club that has helped to promote anti-bullying, character building, and community service. Students in the club act as mentors to students at a local elementary school. He is also the varsity baseball coach at Milton High School.

The Milken Educator Awards were first presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. Massachusetts joined the program in 1997. Since then, more than $1 million has been awarded to recipients in Massachusetts. Recipients can use their $25,000 award in any way they choose. Awards alternate yearly between elementary and secondary educators.

For more information on the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards program, visit the Foundation's website at http://www.mff.org/.



Last Updated: November 13, 2013
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