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Press Release

Monday, November 8, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Surprise! Panama City Teacher Receives $25,000 National Milken Educator Award

~ An “Oscar of teaching” goes to Anna Catherine Hull of Patronis Elementary ~

PANAMA CITY – A seemingly routine schoolwide assembly turned into the surprise of a lifetime when the Milken Family Foundation (MFF) and the Florida Department of Education honored—and stunned—Anna Catherine Hull of Patronis Elementary School, with a Milken Educator Award. One of education’s most prestigious recognitions, the Award comes with a no-strings-attached cash prize of $25,000.

Dr. Jane Foley, MFF Senior Vice President, Milken Educator Awards, State Board of Education member Susan Story, Bay County Superintendent Bill Husfelt, Florida State Representative Jimmy Patronis, and Senator Don Gaetz were among the leaders participating in the surprise celebration.

Dubbed “the Oscars of teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Educator Awards program was conceived by Lowell Milken to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter the teaching profession. Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken Educator Awards have no formal application process. Each year, a blue ribbon panel recommends exceptional teachers, principals and specialists for the distinguished honor. The educators don’t have any knowledge of the nomination and are completely surprised with the news of their awards.

“Anna Catherine Hull is a true educational leader who inspires her students to settle for nothing less than their best each and every day in the classroom,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “I am very pleased the Milken Family Foundation has recognized her tireless dedication to utilizing innovative teaching techniques that captivate her students and fully engage them in the learning process.”

Students in Anna Catherine Hull’s fourth-grade class travel the world without ever leaving the classroom. Hull connects with former teachers who have moved across the country as well as U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq in order to engage her students in ways that make learning relevant. Her recent short-term teaching assignment in Tanzania has provided yet another virtual journey for the entire classroom.

After the surprise Award notification, the Florida Department of Education’s Teacher Liaison Kelly Seay will have the opportunity to host an informative roundtable discussion. Topics will include Florida’s Race to the Top campaign, useful tips for increasing communication within the classroom, and her new television show Teacher Talk which focuses on various topics that can assist teachers in the classroom.

“Our society’s most important profession is teaching as it informs all others,” said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. “We created the Milken Educator Awards to proclaim in a very public way that greatness in education must be recognized and rewarded. Anna Catherine Hull embodies this message intended for entire communities, policymakers, students who may be inspired to enter the profession, and for our nation’s K-12 educators themselves.”

To learn more about the Milken Family Foundation and Milken Educator Award, visit