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News Release - Jeffco teacher wins prestigious Milken Educator Award

Nov. 12, 2013

In a surprise announcement at an all-school assembly, Bear Creek High School social studies teacher Jose Martinez was presented this morning with a $25,000 check from the Milken Family Foundation in recognition of his exceptional work as a model teacher for the state and nation.

The award was presented in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education. Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond and Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken were on hand in Lakewood for the announcement and celebration of Martinez’s talent and dedication.

“Mr. Martinez is a leader and mentor to his students and a supportive and collaborative peer to other educators,” said Hammond.  “His work challenges his students and extends beyond the classroom. He is a positive force in the classroom and in his community.”

Martinez, a six-year teacher, teaches civics, economics and senate in grades nine through 12. He brings citizenship, politics and financial literacy to life with interactive community-focused experiences. He believes that his students need to understand how they, their community and nation influence and are influenced by people, business, alliances, global organizations and events from around the world. 

“Our public education system is at the heart of America’s promise and essential to safeguarding the American dream for future generations,” said Milken.  “With research confirming that effective teachers represent the single most important school-related factor in raising student achievement, it is important to honor them, learn from them, and inspire more capable people to enter the profession.  As the program’s motto extols, the future belongs to the educated.” 

The awards story doesn’t end with the surprise notification. New recipients are invited to join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators coast-to-coast whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education. “Milken Educators point to the award as a pivotal professional milestone,” said Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a 1994 Milken Educator recipient from Indiana.

Since first presented to a dozen California teachers, the program has grown to become the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program having honored nearly 2,600 K-12 teachers, principals and specialists. More than $136 million in funding, including over $64 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the overall program, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients’ careers.  From local to state to national and even international levels, the exponential impact of Milken Educators strengthens American K-12 education. 

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