November 1, 2011
For Immediate Release
Kathy Toelkes, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
Shawnee Mission educator earns $25,000 award as a 2011 Milken Family Foundation National Educator
TOPEKA – High school administrator Lisa Gruman was named a Milken National Educator (MNE) today by the Milken Family Foundation in a surprise ceremony at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in the Shawnee Mission School District USD 512. As a Milken National Educator, Gruman will receive an unrestricted cash award of $25,000.
Milken Family Foundation Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley was joined by Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Diane DeBacker, Deputy Commissioner Dale M. Dennis and USD 512 Superintendent Dr. Gene Johnson at the school where Gruman serves as associate principal. Other special guests included Congressman Kevin Yoder, Director of Constituent Services and Outreach for Sen. Pat Roberts Kay Sharp, and State Board of Education members Sue Storm and Janet Waugh. Gruman was unaware she was being considered for the award until Dr. Foley revealed the name of the 2011 Milken National Educator to the applause and cheers of fellow administrators, teachers and students.
Gruman is one of up to 40 educators around the country being recognized this year with the MNE distinction. Candidates for the award are early- to mid-career educators who have shown evidence of exceptional educational talent through effective instructional practices and student learning results and who have shown exemplary educational accomplishments outside of the classroom.
“Our public education system is at the heart of America’s promise and is essential in safeguarding the American dream for future generations,” said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. “We created the Milken Educator Awards to proclaim in a very public way that greatness in education must be recognized and rewarded. As the program’s motto extols, the future belongs to the educated.”
Gruman has served as the associate principal at Shawnee Mission Northwest for the past seven years. Prior to that, she taught math at the high school level for eight years. Her principal, Dr. Bill Harrington, describes her as “the single best teacher/administrator I have ever worked with,” and her superintendent, Dr. Gene Johnson, says “Lisa is simply a tremendous educator who strives always to do the right thing.” Gruman joins 58 other Kansas educators who have received the MNE award since Kansas began participating in the program in 1992.
“It is a privilege to be able to recognize educators like Lisa Gruman” said DeBacker. “I’m extremely proud of the caliber of educators we have in Kansas and I appreciate the opportunity the Milken Family Foundation affords us to recognize individuals who are working so hard on behalf of our students.”
The Milken Educator Awards have grown to become the nation’s largest teacher recognition program. Since its inception in 1987, the Milken Educator Awards have recognized more than 2,500 educators, providing more than $63 million in awards. The up to 40 educators who will become MNE recipients in 2011 will join the Milken Educator Network, a rich resource of educators and other influential leaders accessible to fellow teachers, legislators, school boards, and others who are shaping the future of education. The award program is one of several programs sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation in the areas of education and medicine.