Oct. 29, 2015
Eighth-grade science teacher surprised with $25,000 as a 2015-16 Milken Educator Award Winner
Former Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Bradley Moore has already led a distinguished career serving as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now he can add Milken Educator Award recipient to his resume. The eighth-grade science teacher at Liberty Point International School (Pueblo County School District 70), was presented with the award by Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken.
For the next six months, in up to 40 schools around the U.S., outstanding middle and high school educators will receive the Milken Educator Award and an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000.
Milken describes Moore as the ultimate team player who not only supports the students, but also the staff at the school.
"Ryan Moore teaches students science and so much more. He teaches leadership and prepares students for a secure future," Milken said. "He is always looking at ways to encourage students to be successful in the classroom and to connect with them, even if that means at times doing things differently. He tells his students how he dropped out of college during his first year because he did not have the study skills to succeed. But he returned and succeeded. Ryan will be a great addition to the Milken Educator Award family."
"Mr. Moore motivates and inspires those around him. He's managed to translate his life experiences in a way that makes students and colleagues alike want to achieve and excel," said Interim Commissioner of Education Elliott Asp. "He makes science interesting and accessible and encourages students to prove to themselves what they are capable of achieving. We're proud of Mr. Moore and the passion he creates for learning."
Pueblo West, Colorado science teacher Ryan Moore turned to teaching after a six-year stint as staff sergeant in the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and one year as a corrections officer with the Colorado Department of Corrections. All this said, he's no drill sergeant in the classroom at Liberty Point International School. Instead, he draws on his well-hewn leadership qualities to encourage his eighth-grade students to make meaningful connections to science, as well as to themselves.
During class, Moore uses his outside-the-box imagination to teach with memorable, real-world science examples. He pairs students for genealogy exercises, encouraging them to imagine what their offspring would look like. He has incorporated ping-pong into a class on Newton's Laws, dressed up as George Mendel when teaching genetics, and taught atomic structure using black lights and glow-in-the-dark constellations. And while his students say he's fun (and colleagues say he has boundless energy), Moore has consistently advanced student achievement scores over the course of his seven-year tenure at Liberty Point. In the evenings, he is available on email and Moodle to answer homework questions, and he regularly involves parents in student learning. Disinterested kids are said to become engaged with Moore, though he lets kids know that an A has to be earned.
Moore's variegated past has definitely molded him into a leader. He shares his story with students of how he dropped out of college his first year, then pushed himself to go back and get his degree, eventually finishing his bachelor's degree from Colorado State University-Pueblo in Exercise Health Promotion (with a minor in biology) in 2006, and a 2010 Teacher in Residence certification, also from CSU-Pueblo. Having also completed Level One of the International Baccalaureat Training, and Level Two of the International Baccalaureat Science Training, Moore has been an integral player in the successful implementation of the IB science training program at his school.
But in addition to academic achievements, Moore is praised for imbuing his students with organizational, as well as real-life skills. He regularly plans outdoor education programs to guide desert backpacking trips and teach survival skills to students. He also volunteers for such organizations as the Boy Scouts of America, Pueblo West's Parks & Recreation Department and Avondale Elementary School's Science Nights, consistent with his mission to bring out the best in youth and community.
The Milken Educator Awards program, which was launched by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987, has been described as "the Oscars of teaching" by Teacher magazine. Recipients are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. Many have gone on to earn advanced degrees and be placed in prominent posts and on state and national education committees.
Alternating yearly between elementary and secondary educators, the Milken Awards are sourced through each participating state department of education, which appoints an independent blue ribbon committee to confidentially review candidates for recommendation to MFF.