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October 10, 2002
Contact: Bill Edmonds
Florida Board of Education
Hialeah teacher receives $25,000 Milken National Educator Award
TALLAHASSEE Education Secretary Jim Horne today announced that Samuel Cassandre Pongnon, a fourth-grade reading teacher at Palm Lakes Elementary School in Hialeah, is a recipient of a 2002 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.
"Mr. Pongnon is an outstanding educator who makes a significant contribution to the lives and futures of the children at Palm Lakes Elementary," said Horne. "I am proud that for the fifth year Florida is able to recognize excellence in education with the Milken Family Foundation by acknowledging the vision and dedication educators such as Mr. Pongnon bring to our schools."
Horne congratulated Pongnon as the recipient of a $25,000 award. He will become part of the Milken Educator Network, which comprises more than 1,850 of the nation's most outstanding educators. As part of the award, educators will attend a professional development conference in Los Angeles in June, where they will have access to a variety of expert resources to help cultivate and expand innovative practices in their classrooms, schools and districts. The Milken Family Foundation provides the all-expense paid conference to educators as part of their award.
Dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher Magazine, the Milken National Educator Awards were created in 1985 to reward, retain and attract the highest caliber K-12 professionals to our schools. The program has become the largest teacher recognition program in the United States.
An independent, blue-ribbon panel committee appointed by the Florida Department of Education makes nominations to the Milken Foundation from which the final selections are made. Predetermined criteria for the award include:
- Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by outstanding instructional practices
in the classroom, school and profession.
- Outstanding accomplishments and strong long-range potential for professional and
- An engaging and inspiring presence that motivates students, colleagues and the community.
The Milken Family Foundation Educator Awards celebrates and rewards educators who make great strides in improving our educational system by:
- Fostering professional development and career enhancement.
- Encouraging Milken educators to shape education policy in their state.
- Elevating the teaching profession through public recognition of excellence.
- Encouraging talented men and women to enter the field of education.
For more information about the Milken National Educator Awards, visit www.mff.org.