Everything seemed perfectly ordinary to Juleen Jenkins-Whall as she sat with her 10th grade chemistry class during a Traverse City West High School assembly —that is, until State Superintendent Mike Flanagan popped in for a video chat, and announced that Jenkins-Whall had just won the prestigious Milken Educator Award.
Dubbed by Teacher Magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the award recognizes outstanding work in the field of education with a no-strings-attached monetary prize of $25,000. Jenkins-Whall, who earned her master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum at the MSU College of Education in 2004, is one of only 40 other secondary teachers in the nation to receive the award.
“Juleen Jenkins-Whall’s instructional practices are exemplary,” Flanagan said. “She engages and inspires her students in ways that not only make learning fun, but allows students to work and succeed at their own pace.”
During the assembly, Traverse City West Principal Joe Tibaldi also commended Jenkins-Whall for her dynamic and effective teaching practices, which include the incorporation of technology in the classroom. He also reminded assembly-goers that Jenkins-Whall had the full support of the Traverse City community, as they recognized Jenkins-Whall as a “teacher of choice.”
The Milken Educator Awards are funded by the Milken Family Foundation, an organization launched by education reform leader Lowell Milken that awards and celebrates K-12 teacher excellence. Known for attracting media attention by way of public events, the Milken Family Foundation has been instrumental in communicating effective teaching methods to communities, parents and policymakers for the past 25 years.