Thursday, November 14, 2013

Milton Teacher's Big Surprise

Dr. Jane Foley and James Moonan

     I spent yesterday morning at the Pierce Middle School in Milton, MA. Only a very select few knew the reason for the visit by Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, a few legislators, and a number of invited guests The spirited high school marching band traveled over to the middle school to get the program started. After a few welcoming remarks by the superintendent and the principal, the eighth grade girls chorus performed. What beautiful voices they had! I could have listened to them for an hour. Next,  Commissioner Chester spoke about the importance of dedicated, wonderful teachers. He then introduced Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president, at the Milken Family Foundation in California. She had come from California to notify sixth grade math teacher, James Moonan, that he had been named a Milken Family Foundation National Educator. To learn more this prestigious award, please visit MFF NAtional Educator Award. James was the only teacher named in Massachusetts this year to receive the award and only one of forty who were named across the country. The announcement also comes with an unrestricted $25,000 financial award.
     From the thunderous reaction of students and teachers, it was clear to see that Jim is a well loved and respected teacher. Pierce Middle School was a very happy and exciting place to be. Why was I there? Well, for those who don't know, back in 1999 I was sitting with my eighth graders in a junior high auditorium when then Commissioner David Driscoll made the equally stunning announcement that I had been named a Milken Family Foundation National Educator. Overwhelmed and shocked don't begin to express the feelings that I had. Each year, we veteran Milken Educators are invited to the notification ceremony to welcome the newest member into the family. Watching the ceremony brings back a flood of wonderful emotions for each of us lucky enough to have received this award. Jim became the forty-first educator from Massachusetts to be so honored. The entire process is very, very mysterious, and one never knows how the recipient is found and selected by the Milken Foundation. To read more about what the foundation is doing to help make advances in medical research and in education, please visit the Milken Family Foundation.

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