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NEWS RELEASES 2006-07 :: OCTOBER 17, 2006


Kristen Stone, a third grade teacher at Tanglewood Elementary School (Public Schools of Robeson County), probably began her morning anticipating another typical school day. Little did she know that her day was going to be anything but ordinary; today she became North Carolina's 2006 Milken Family Foundation National Educator award recipient.

State Superintendent June Atkinson made the surprise announcement during a school-wide assembly. Stone is among the nation's 100 most recent recipients of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, which carries with it an unrestricted financial award of $25,000 and membership in a network of over 2,200 past recipients from across the nation who serve as both expert resources and collaborators to network members. Stone is the only North Carolina educator to receive the award this year.

Superintendent Atkinson said that participating in this event is one of the highlights of her job as the state's public schools' leader. "Kristen's third grade students are incredibly fortunate to have such an exceptional teacher. She is a wonderful example of the quality of teachers that call North Carolina's public school classrooms home." Noting that North Carolina has been a participant in Milken for the past 12 years, Atkinson said she finds this a truly humbling experience. "I am honored to have had the opportunity to recognize such an exemplary teacher and shine a light on all the wonderful things she does to inspire and motivate her students to learn and excel."

An independent, blue ribbon committee (appointed by each state's department of education) selects the recipients on a state-by-state basis for the award. Predetermined criteria include 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-term potential for professional and policy leadership; and an engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

Stone is noted for her ability to inspire and motivate her students to learn. She peppers her instructional methodology with varied activities targeted at a wide range of student interests and abilities that her pupils can't help but become engaged by the subject matter. For example, she teaches the geographical regions of the state by decorating a cookie that shows the topography of particularly those below grade level – to make sure students are on track for academic growth. She is known for doing whatever it takes to help a child learn.

Stone earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1994 from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Master of Arts degree in 2003 from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She also is a National Board Certified teacher. She currently serves as grade-level chairperson for the third grade and is mentor to a third-grade teacher. She is a member of Tanglewood Elementary School's Writing Committee, Conferencing Committee and the School Improvement Team; serves as Accelerated Math Coordinator; teaches in the school's Saturday academies; and tutors after school. She is actively engaged in coordinating staff development opportunities for the school and is currently applying for admission to a Masters Degree in School Supervision and Administration program.

Stone will join 99 other educators in 48 states and the District of Columbia as the latest recipients of this prestigious award, which was established to provide exceptional K-12 educators with public recognition and to inspire talented young people to consider teaching as a career. In addition to the financial award and educational networking opportunities, the Milken Family Foundation provides recipients with a variety of professional resources to help them cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts. They also receive an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles in April 2007 for the annual Milken National Education Conference.

"Good teachers are the linchpins of our education system playing a critical role in propelling student learning," Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken said. "It is imperative that as a nation we recognize the importance of outstanding teachers and encourage young, talented people to choose teaching as a career."

Dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher Magazine, the Milken National Educator Awards were established in 1985 to reward, retain and attract the highest caliber professionals for our nation's schools. The award alternates each year between elementary and secondary educators. To date, 41 North Carolina educators have received this award, sharing a total of over $1 million. Nationally, over $57 million has been awarded since the program's inception.

To receive additional information on the Milken Educator Awards, the National Education Conference, or other Milken Family Foundation programs, please call 310/570-4775 or visit the Milken Family Foundation Web site, . For information about the awards presented in North Carolina, please contact the NCDPI's Communications division at 919/807-3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.