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Urban Teachers Receive $25,000 Milken Award

  • At Ewa Makai Middle School in Oahu, Hawaii, math teacher Miki Cacace developed a new coding class to offer to students at her school. The class allows students to learn the basics of coding while building games and apps that are test-driven and rated by their peers. After promoting the class as a fun and exciting alternative, students signed up in droves to take the class. 

    Cacace also offers field trips to Microsoft and Apple stores and grants students the opportunity to talk to professionals about their coding backgrounds. She has been able to bridge a gap between students and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and is now working with her peers on the elementary and high school levels to create a K-12 computer science program. Miki Cacace was one of 39 educators to receive the 2019-20 Milken Educator Award.

    For her efforts, Cacace was one of 39 educators to receive the 2019-20 Milken Educator Award. Sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation, the award presents early to mid-career educators with a $25,000 cash prize. Known as the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the award alternates yearly between elementary and secondary educators. 

    Cacace was not the only big-city educator to be honored. Also receiving the Milken Educator Award was Steven Gamache, a teacher in Louisiana’s NOLA Public Schools; Nathan Kirsch, a teacher in Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools in Memphis; Katie McQuone, a teacher from California’s Fresno Unified School District; Susan Moreno, a teacher from the Dallas Independent School District; Ben Nguyen, a teacher from Nevada’s Clark County School District in Las Vegas; Claire Smullen, a teacher from the District of Columbia Public Schools; and Princess Francois, an assistant principal in New York City.