October 25, 2010

Readfield teacher wins $25,000 Milken award

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

LEWISTON — A second-grade teacher at Montello Elementary School received a $25,000 national award today that recognizes excellence in teaching.

Kristie Clark received the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award during a surprise assembly at the school, according to the Maine Department of Education.

Education Commissioner Angela Faherty presented the unrestricted prize to the 20-year teaching veteran.

“Mrs. Clark has a wide array of outstanding teaching and interpersonal skills. Her calm and focused strategies encourage all of her students to achieve their personal best,” Faherty said. “She touches others in ways that positively change their lives.”

Outside the classroom, Clark is actively engaged in leadership roles in the areas of curriculum, instruction and professional development at Montello Elementary School.

She is a member of the Montello leadership team and is the grade-level leader for grade two. Her credibility as a leader is supported by her success as a teacher and the documented academic success of her students.

“Her students perform at high levels not only because she believes they can, but because she gets them to believe in themselves,” Principal Deb Goding said.

Clark received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Maine, Farmington, in 1991, and her master’s in elementary reading and literacy from Walden University, in Minneapolis, in 2003. Clark lives in Readfield with her husband, Bob, sons Bailey and Robby, and their dog, Wally.

Since first presented in 1987 to a dozen California teachers, the Milken Educator Awards has grown to become the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program having honored more than 2,500 teachers, principals and specialists with over $62 million in individual, unrestricted $25,000 awards.

The exponential impact of the more than 2,500 outstanding teachers has helped to reform American K-12 education. The awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary educators.

The awards story doesn’t end with the surprise notification. In the spring, new recipients receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to participate in the Milken Educator Forum, which brings together award-winning educators from across the nation to address innovative strategies for advancing teacher effectiveness.

They are also invited to join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education.

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