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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

October 27, 2010

Gresham Educator Receives Milken National Educator Award – and $25,000

SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced today that Martin Martinez, a 3rd grade teacher at Gresham-Barlow’s Hogan Cedars Elementary, has been selected as a recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. Martin will receive a $25,000 cash award as part of his recognition.

Superintendent Castillo and Dr. Jane Foley, Senior Vice President of the Milken Family Foundation, made the surprise award announcement at an all-school assembly this morning.

“We have all known that special teacher whose power to inspire and share a love of learning changed us and helped us grow into the people we are today,” said Superintendent Susan Castillo. “But far too often these inspiring and life changing teachers don’t receive the recognition and thanks they deserve. Martin Martinez is just such a life changing teacher and today he received recognition of that in a very big way. Thanks to the generosity of the Milken National Educator Award program, Martin is receiving national recognition for the good work he is doing here in Oregon.”

“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. It is a message intended for entire communities, policymakers, students who may be inspired to enter the profession, and for our nation’s K-12 educators themselves.”

Martin is dedicated, enthusiastic, and fully committed to the success of each one of his students. He does an excellent job connecting with and instructing all students in his classroom regardless of their level of academic proficiency or language of origin. As a bilingual educator, he has additional resources in working with his diverse classroom.

“Martin is an outstanding educator that is a leader in the school community,” said Hogan Cedars Principal Debra Jones. “He is professional, collaborative with colleagues, and always ready to learn. He is the most excellent example of an outstanding educator in Oregon.”

Martin’s teaching strategies and curriculum are research-based and founded in educational best practice. He individually conferences with each of his students on a weekly basis and students respond to Martin’s engagement and enthusiasm by performing at high levels, consistently exceeding state standards in all subjects. Martin is also a strong contributor to staff development and research at Hogan Cedars Elementary and stands out as a true leader in the school.

“While the Milken Educator Award shines a spotlight on great teachers, it also serves as a beacon illuminating ever-expanding opportunities and new pathways of leadership,” said Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator.

Oregon is one of 48 states and the District of Columbia participating in the Milken Educator Awards program. Since joining the program in 1990, 73 Oregon educators have received over $1.825 million in recognition of their achievements in education. In addition to the unrestricted $25,000 financial award, each Milken Educator Award recipient becomes a member of an elite group of nationally recognized awardees called the Milken Educator Network, totaling over 2,500 top educators from around the country. The award recipient also receives an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles, CA to participate in the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference.

Recipients of the award are recommended to the Foundation by an independent blue ribbon panel appointed by each participating state’s department of education. Selection criteria 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; and an engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues, and the community.

The Milken Educator Awards were established in 1987 by Lowell Milken to reward, retain, and attract the highest caliber teachers in the profession. Today, the Milken Educator Awards is the nation’s largest teacher recognition program.

Audio Clip - Quote from Superintendent Castillo on Milken Educator Martin Martinez: http://video.orvsd.org/ode/10-22-10-Milken.MP3

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Susanne Smith, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5637

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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