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January 16, 2007

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Commissioner Winn Announces Polk County Teacher to Receive National Educator Award
Lincoln Avenue Academy educator Holly Wallace recognized as an outstanding Florida teacher

LAKELAND — Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced Holly Wallace, a fourth grade teacher at Lincoln Avenue Academy, as a recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. Commissioner Winn was joined by Polk County Superintendent Gail McKenzie, Ph.D., Polk County School Board member Kay Fields, and 2004 Milken Educator Award recipient Sharon Moser at an assembly at the school. Recipients will receive their award in April during the annual Milken Family Foundation National Educator Conference, an all-expense-paid professional development conference, in Los Angeles.

"Florida is fortunate to have Holly Wallace preparing students for academic success," said Commissioner Winn. "She represents hard-working teachers across the state and we are pleased to recognize her outstanding contributions to education."

The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award program seeks to attract, retain and reward outstanding K-12 teachers, principals and other education professionals. Dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher Magazine, the award was created in 1985 by Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken to recognize the contributions of educators who foster education excellence. Since the program began, more than 2,200 educators have been recognized in 48 states and the District of Columbia with an unrestricted $25,000 cash award.

Wallace has been a teacher since 1994. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree from the University of South Florida. She began her education career in Hillsborough County as a teacher of Emergent Fluent Learners and continued as a classroom teacher and Science Resource teacher in Polk County. Wallace is a National Board Certified Teacher and twice a recipient of the Disney Teacherrific Award. She frequently makes presentations on science and mathematics topics and has been published numerous times in education journals.

An independent committee appointed by the Florida Department of Education makes nominations to the Milken Foundation from which final selections are made. Predetermined criteria for the award include:

  • exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;
  • exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;
  • strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and
  • engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards seek to focus public attention on the importance of excellence in education by celebrating and rewarding outstanding educators who further positive change in the education system by fostering active professional development and career enhancement, and encouraging caring and creative people to choose education as a challenging and rewarding career.

For more information about the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards, visit