Traverse City West High School Teacher Receives National Milken Educator Award

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Communications (517) 241-4395
Agency: Education

October 27, 2011
LANSING - Ms. Juleen Jenkins-Whall, a 10th grade chemistry teacher at Traverse City West High School in the Traverse City Area Public Schools District, received news today of a $25,000 cash award - no strings attached - during a video-conference with State Superintendent Mike Flanagan, held during a school assembly.
The event also was attended by staff of the Michigan Department of Education as part of the Milken Family Foundation's National Educator Awards Program.
"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."

"She models excellence and as a great teacher, makes a difference. I think of the dedicated teachers of Michigan as heroes and see Juleen as a hero among heroes," Flanagan added.

Traverse City West Principal Joe Tibaldi said, "Ms. Jenkins-Whall is an extremely innovative teacher who has greatly contributed to the success of Traverse City Area Public Schools. Recognized by the community as a ‘teacher of choice', Juleen is a model teacher for all staff and provides coaching and mentoring for other teachers at TC West Senior High. She embraces technology, and that has made her classroom a dynamic and effective place for students to learn."
Jenkins-Whall is one 40 secondary teachers nationwide this year to receive the Milken National Educator Award, dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher Magazine. This year marks 25 years that the Foundation has been recognizing and rewarding the noble profession of teaching through the Milken Educator Awards.
Since first presented to a dozen California teachers, the program has grown to become the nation's preeminent teacher recognition program, having honored more than 2,500 teachers, principals and specialists with over $63 million in individual, unrestricted $25,000 awards.

Research shows that the single most important school-based factor impacting student achievement is having a talented teacher in the classroom.  The difference between an effective and ineffective teacher can be a full grade level of student achievement in a single year.  

Award Criteria
Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken National Educator Awards have no formal nomination or application process.  Educators are recommended for this prestigious honor without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each state's department of education.
Candidates for the Milken Educator Awards are selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • 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;
  • Strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and
  • Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.
Recipients will be presented with their unrestricted $25,000 award checks during the Milken National Education Conference to be held in the spring of 2012 in Los Angeles.

For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, and the surprise notification events held throughout the United States, please access the Milken Family Foundation website at <>  or contact them at 310-570-4775.

Copyright 2015 State of Michigan