Amanda Raupe of Putnam City Schools Named 2016-17 Oklahoma Milken Educator

Hilldale Elementary teacher earns $25,000 for setting first-graders up for success  

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 10, 2017) — Hilldale Elementary School in Putnam City Schools — the fifth-largest school district in Oklahoma — is known for turning around student achievement. Today, an all-school assembly was turned on its head when first-grade teacher Amanda Raupe was called to accept a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for her contributions to the school’s significant achievement growth.

Raupe is the only Milken Educator Award recipient for Oklahoma this year and among up to 35 honorees who will receive the prestigious honor nationwide for 2016-17. This season marks the 30th year of the Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching.”

Milken Family Foundation Senior Program Administrator Greg Gallagher presented the recognition to Raupe, joined by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Natalie Shirley and Putnam City Schools Superintendent Dr. Fred Rhodes.

“Amanda Raupe is a hands-on leader and mentor who goes the extra mile for students and colleagues,” said Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a 1994 Milken Educator from Indiana. “From providing her first-graders with a solid foundation for success to sharing best practices with fellow faculty, Amanda has served as a valuable team player in Hilldale’s progress. I congratulate her on this well-deserved honor and warmly welcome her into the Milken Educator family.”

Raupe is the grade-level team leader and a school leadership team member. She is considered a vital contributor to turning Hilldale — a high-poverty pre-K through fifth-grade school — around. In addition, more than half of the students are English learners (ELs). As such, Raupe dedicates core classroom time to phonics and phonemic awareness, as well as refines her math instruction with a grant she received from the Oklahoma Educators Credit Union. Students catch up in her class, with each surging up at least four levels on reading assessment tests in one year, and many jumping to eight levels — double the expected growth rate.

Hilldale’s student achievement progress in reading and math over time recently earned it the designation of Oklahoma Reward School and raised its state report card grade from a D in 2012 to a B in 2015. Raupe familiarizes her students with assessments early on, studying data regularly and using it to create small, flexible learning groups that change as students reach their learning targets.

“Teachers are the most important people in the schoolhouse for lifting student outcomes. Clearly, Amanda has set the bar high,” said Hofmeister. “She goes above and beyond to ensure that her students’ needs are met, and as a lifelong learner, is always pursuing new ways to excel at her craft. We are incredibly proud of Amanda and her dedication to the schoolchildren of Oklahoma.”

“Foundations for college- and career-readiness can’t start early enough, and Amanda’s dedication to developing strong readers at an early age goes a long way toward preparing our youth for a bright future and closing the workforce gap in our state,” said Shirley, who is also president of Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City. “We’re thrilled with her success and proud that a home-grown teacher from the Oklahoma State University system has made a significant impact on so many lives in such a short time.”

Raupe is known as a go-to person at Hilldale for thoughtful, high-impact ideas born of intense research. Solutions-oriented, she has led recent changes in the school’s literacy program, poring over new textbooks and materials and studying the rubric in order to make data-driven, substantive recommendations. Raupe mastered the LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) curriculum, completed its training modules, and helps colleagues implement the new curriculum in their classrooms.

“Amanda Raupe exemplifies the commitment and excellence of the finest of the teaching profession,” added Rhodes. “She knows children deserve our love, compassion and respect, our unflagging energy and our best efforts. She nurtures her students while also understanding that her preparation and skill as a teacher will help her young students succeed in school and life. Too often the important, incredible work of teachers like Amanda goes without acknowledgement. That’s why it’s wonderful to have the Milken Educator Awards shine a light on the good that teachers do.”

Raupe’s expertise and mentoring capabilities extend to Putnam City Schools and the community at large. She is a member of the district’s English Language Arts curriculum team, has mentored future educators from nearby universities and has contributed to presentations at national literacy conferences.

Raupe earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Oklahoma State University in 2011.

More information about Raupe, plus links to photos and a video from today’s assembly, can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at

Milken Educators are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. In addition to the $25,000 prize and public recognition, Raupe’s honor includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,700 top principals, teachers and specialists dedicated to strengthening education.

In addition to participation in the Milken Educator Network, 2016-17 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum, March 23-25, 2017, in New Orleans. 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.

More than $138 million in funding, including $68 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the overall Awards program, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients’ careers. Many have gone on to earn advanced degrees and be placed in prominent posts and on state and national education committees.

The Awards alternate yearly between elementary and secondary educators. 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.

Past recipients have used their Awards to fund their children’s education or their own continuing education. Others have financed dream field trips, established scholarships and even funded the adoption of children.

To get regular updates on the surprise Milken Educator Award events, follow and use the #MilkenAward hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Milken Educator Awards tour is on social media at,,, and

For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit or call MFF at (310) 570-4772.

*Video & Credit: Milken Family Foundation

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Last updated on January 11, 2017