Urban Teachers Receive $25,000 Milken Award
At Farmer Elementary School in Louisville, Ky, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lab teacher Jessica Goodman strives to make science fun, creating a series of quirky, engaging science experiments called “Get Your Geek On.” She founded and coaches Farmer’s Junior Beta robotics team, twice leading the group to four Kentucky Junior Beta state championships and top honors at the National Junior Beta Convention.
Goodman has also worked to improve access to technology for all students. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she coordinated and distributed Chromebooks and coached colleagues through Google Meet and Classroom.
For her efforts to make science fun and education accessible, Goodman was one of 60 educators to receive the 2021-22 Milken Educator Award. Known as the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the national award inspires and uplifts unique stories of educators making a difference for their students, colleagues, and communities. Sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation, the award presents early to mid-career educators with a $25,000 cash prize.
In addition to Goodman, nine urban educators received the Milken Award. They were Temperance Tinker Kays, a teacher in Alaska’s Anchorage School District; Ali Jun, a teacher from Nevada’s Clark County School District in Las Vegas; Renia Cruz, a teacher from Denver Public Schools; Jenelle Bryant, a teacher from the District of Columbia Public Schools; Justin Scarbro, a teacher from Guilford County Schools in Greensboro, N.C.; Jay Weisman, a teacher in Louisiana’s NOLA Public Schools; Sara Mae Lagasca, a teacher from New Jersey’s Newark Public Schools; Michelle Iwasaki, a teacher from Hawaii; and Aubrey Flowers, a principal from Tulsa Public Schools.