NEWS RELEASES 2017-18 :: DECEMBER 18, 2017


Meghan LeFevers knew a few weeks ago that N.C. Superintendent Mark Johnson would be visiting Bessemer City High School, where she’s an assistant principal. She thought today’s visit to Gaston County was just part of the education leader’s statewide listening tour to learn from local educators. What LeFevers didn’t know when the entire school assembled this morning to welcome Johnson was that that the spotlight would shine on her instead.

Shine it did. LeFevers left the assembly with a check for $25,000 to spend as she pleases – the prize that comes with being North Carolina’s 2017 Milken Educator Award recipient. LeFevers is one of 44 educators nationwide to win the honor from the Milken Family Foundation, which annually recognizes exceptional early-to-mid career education professionals.

Presenting LeFevers with the award, Johnson cited her commitment to ensuring that all students have access to strong educational opportunities, regardless of special needs or disabilities.

“Meghan exemplifies the best that North Carolina’s public schools provide their students and communities and represents other school leaders working so hard for their students,” Johnson said. “Students here at Bessemer City High School succeed as a result of her leadership. One example of her leadership is how she helped develop an innovative schoolwide learning plan that includes personalized feedback and intervention for every student.

“Her keen interest in data, curriculum and instruction – not to mention students – helps this school stay focused on what’s most important: effective teaching and learning.”

Last month, the N.C. Association of Principals and Assistant Principals named LeFevers its 2018 North Carolina Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year.

She began at Bessemer City High School in 2013 as an N.C. Principal Fellows intern and has been an assistant principal since 2014. A North Carolina Teaching Fellow and graduate of Appalachian State University, LeFevers started her education career as a teacher in Gaston County at William C. Friday Middle School, where she taught in an at-risk program for students scoring below grade level in reading and math. The program resulted in 92 percent of students passing at least one state assessment.

A leader in the district and community, LeFevers serves on the Advanced Board for Children with Disabilities and the district’s Alternative Education Hearing Panel. She has served on the district superintendent’s Leadership Cohort, delivered a keynote address at the 2017 Annual Inclusion Conference at Winthrop University and presented at the 2017 Conference on Educational Leadership in Greensboro. She works as her school’s public relations liaison, sharing news and student accomplishments on social media. She hails from a family of educators; her mother retired from Gaston County Schools after more than three decades in education.

Unlike most teacher recognition programs, the Milken Educator Awards has no formal nomination or application process. Candidates are sourced through a confidential selection process and then reviewed by blue-ribbon panels appointed by state departments of education. Those most exceptional are recommended for the award, with final approval by the Milken Family Foundation. Recipients can be exceptional teachers, principals, or specialists who are furthering excellence in the nation’s schools.

Recipients are chosen on the basis of educational talent as demonstrated by effective instructional practices, student learning outcomes and exemplary educational accomplishments outside the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession, said Jane Foley, Milken Educator Awards senior vice president. The award also is intended for individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded – early-to-mid-career educators who offer strong, long-term potential for professional and policy leadership – and those with an engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and benefits students, colleagues and the community.

"A former math teacher turned assistant principal, Meghan LeFevers has seen education from many different angles and brings her breadth of experience and insights to bear for students, colleagues and the wider community," Foley said. "Working across the educational spectrum from gifted students to the disabled, she strives to maximize the potential of each and every student, especially those from underserved communities. Always pursuing lofty goals, she epitomizes the practical yet uplifting spirit of the Milken Educator Awards."

Called the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher magazine, the Milken Educator Awards have been given since 1987. The goal is to reward, retain and attract the highest caliber professionals for the nation’s schools. The award alternates each year between elementary and secondary educators.

Since joining the Milken Educator Awards program in 1994, 50 North Carolina educators have received the $25,000 award. Nationally, more than 2,700 K–12 teachers, principals and specialists have been named Milken recipients. New recipients are invited to join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education.

In addition to participation in the Milken Educator Network, the 2017-18 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum this spring in Washington, D.C. Educators will have the opportunity to network with their new colleagues and hear from state and federal officials about the importance of maximizing their leadership roles to advance educator effectiveness.

For additional information, visit the Milken Educator Awards’ website or call the Milken Family Foundation at 310.570.4772.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 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.