February 27, 2023

Three Louisiana Educators Receive Nationally-Acclaimed Milken Award

Three Louisiana Educators Receive Nationally-Acclaimed Milken Award

It was recently announced by the Louisiana Department of Education via this news release that educators from Ascension, West Baton Rouge, and Lafayette Parish have each received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award.

The $25,000 Milken Educator Award was awarded by Milken Educator Awards Founder Lowell Milken and Louisiana Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley to Ascension Public Schools first-grade teacher Elise Frederic, West Baton Rouge Schools fifth-grade teacher Dereka Duncan, and Lafayette Parish third-grade teacher Corrie Campbell. The issuing of these awards is often kept such a close-held secret that recipients do not know that they are in the running for the award until they are visited by the Superintendent and Milken himself.

By design, Milken Educator Awards are bestowed upon early-to-mid career educators for what these teachers have already achieved early on in their careers and “for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities inherent in the Award. In education circles, the Milken Educator Award is known as an immensely high honor, akin to the Academy Awards, as the honor is often referred to as the “Oscars of Teaching.” Being selected for such an award is meant to both “inspire and uplift with the unique stories of educators making a profound difference for students, colleagues, and communities.

Elise Frederic serves as an accomplished first-grade teacher at Lakeside Primary School in Prairieville, Louisiana, and she is described as continually helping “each child set daily goals and pair[ing] students strategically to address their specific needs. Her laser focus on literacy delivers in spades.” In the 2021-2022 School year, more than 90% of Frederic’s students had achieved mastery on district benchmark assessments in English and 70% had achieved mastery in Math.

Lowell Milken commented on Elise Frederic’s success by saying, “virtually all people can name at least one teacher who has had an extraordinary impact on their lives. Elise Frederic is that kind of foundational teacher whose care and compassion have helped shape young learners into future leaders. Equally impressive, Elise is an exceptional instructional role model for her peers in the school, district and broader community.”

Dereka Duncan is a well-regarded fifth-grade science teacher at Cohn Elementary School, and she has reportedly worked on “revamping the fifth grade reading curriculum to align with Louisiana ELA standards.” Because of this commitment, “Cohn has reached an all-time high progress index of 90%, resulting in an A on the growth index score for the first time.”

Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley said the following about Dereka Duncan: “Students do more than learn science in Dereka Duncan’s class, they participate in experiences that allow them to see themselves as scientists, engineers, and researchers. She is the type of transformational educator who will help move our state forward.

Corrie Campbell passionately teaches both English Language Arts and Social Studies at Green T. Lindon Elementary School in Lafayette Parish. According to LDOE, at Campbell’s previous school in New Iberia Parish, “Campbell created a fourth-grade writing challenge based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Students examined characters’ reactions when their rights were threatened, then shared their work with peers for feedback. The writing unit served as an extended lead-up to the Newberry Award writing contest in fifth grade.”

Dr. Brumley commented by saying, “Corrie Campbell has a hands-on approach to teaching that’s resulted in remarkable student growth and achievement. Not only does she focus on reaching every child, but she also serves as a mentor to her colleagues.”

Nationwide, there were up to 40 elementary educators awarded a Milken Educator Award this season. The Milken Awards Initiative has awarded more than $73 million in individual awards and more than $140 million in funding since 1987.

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