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PRESS RELEASE

October 13, 2003

Frances Marine
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Jim Horne Presents Milken Family Foundation Award to Mary Thoreen
Mathematics teacher at Wilson Middle School in Tampa receives $25,000 award

TAMPA — Education Commissioner Jim Horne today presented Mary Thoreen, a seventh and eighth grade mathematics teacher at Wilson Middle School in Tampa, with the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

"Mary Thoreen is an exceptional educator who makes a significant contribution to the lives and futures of the children at Wilson Middle School," said Horne. "It is a privilege to honor her as a Milken Educator for her outstanding contributions to education in Florida."

Horne congratulated Thoreen as the recipient of a $25,000 award. She will receive her check at the 15th annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference, an all-expense-paid professional development conference held in Washington, D.C. Thoreen also will become part of the Milken Educator Network, a coalition of over 2,000 of the nation's most outstanding educators.

Earlier today, Commissioner Horne announced that Jonathan Kern, a sixth grade reading teacher at Julia A. Landon Middle School in Jacksonville, was also a recipient of the Milken National Educator Award.

Dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching," by Teacher Magazine, the Milken National Educator Awards were created in 1985 by Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, to celebrate the efforts of our nation's most outstanding teachers, principals, and specialists in K-12 education. The program has become the largest teacher recognition program in the United States.

An independent blue-ribbon 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 policy leadership; and
  • engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues, and the community at large.

The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards celebrates and rewards educators who make great strides in improving our education 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, and encouraging talented men and women to enter the field of education.

For more information about the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards, please visit www.mff.org.