About Milken Educator Awards

Film has the Oscar™, music has the Grammy™, science has the Nobel and sports has its gold medals, but what about the true unsung heroes on the frontlines of shaping our future?  Where is the recognition for our nation’s educators?  Enter Lowell Milken and the Milken Educator Awards.

Milken Educator Award Obelisk

Milken Educator Award Obelisk

Founded in 1985 as an initiative of the Milken Family Foundation, the Milken Educator Awards program rewards and inspires excellence in the world of education by honoring top educators around the country with $25,000 unrestricted awards.  Not an accolade for “lifetime achievement” or the proverbial gold watch at the exit door, the Milken Educator Awards targets early-to-mid career education professionals for their already impressive achievements and, more significantly, for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.

To date, nearly 2,600 Awards have been given out, totaling over $64 million.  The one-time award is just the beginning.  Milken Educators are given access to powerful networking and development tools throughout their careers in education.  When combined, more than $136 million has been devoted to the overall program.

Recipients are caught by surprise when their names are announced at emotional all-school assemblies in front of cheering students, proud colleagues, distinguished officials and the media.  There’s a reason why Teacher magazine called it the “Oscars of Teaching”—new Milken Educators have even been asked for autographs by admiring students!  And while the celebrity treatment is well-deserved, the Awards aren’t about the glitz and glamour.  They’re about bringing attention to these classroom heroes; serving at once as validation, motivation and inspiration to current and future quality educators.  The message:  We recognize you. We value you. We thank you.

"Surprise of a Lifetime" — We asked three Milken Educators what winning the Milken Educator Award was like for them and how it impacted their lives personally and professionally. Watch as Nader Twal (CA '03)Shannon Garrison (CA '08) and Jane Ching Fung (CA '02) relive that incredible day and share the experience.