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Two Oklahoma educators win $25,000 Milken Awards


Press Release State Seal  

Carrie Burkhart
Director of Communications
(405) 521-3371, c: (405) 760-7881
carrie.burkhart@sde.ok.gov

Erin Corbin
Communications Specialist
(405) 521-3375
erin.corbin@sde.ok.gov

Annette Price
Communications Specialist
(405) 521-6647
annette.price@sde.ok.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Two Oklahoma educators win $25,000
Milken Awards

Union science teacher, Tulsa principal surprised with national honor

TULSA (April 8, 2022) – In separate surprise announcements, science teacher Tamarah Danzy and principal Aubrey Flowers received the national Milken Educator Award at all-school assemblies today. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister was joined by Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher in presenting the prestigious awards, each of which comes with $25,000. 

Tamarah Danzy with check

From left, Union Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler; Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister; recipient Tamarah Danzy; Union 8th Grade Center Principal Michelle Cundy; and Greg Gallagher, senior program director for the Milken Educator Awards.

Danzy teaches science at the Union Eighth Grade Center in Broken Arrow, within the Union Public Schools district. She has been teaching for 14 years, serves as science department chair and coaches the varsity cheerleading squad.

“Tamarah believes in every one of her students and motivates them to master essential skills needed in science and engineering,” said Hofmeister, who surprised Danzy with the honor this afternoon. “She prepares her young learners to be ready for college and career through engaging, hands-on lessons that they can build on in high school, and she challenges them to research and discover on their own. Tamarah is a model teacher in Oklahoma. We are so delighted that she has been recognized as a Milken Educator.”

Danzy regularly incorporates reading, writing and technology skills into her science lessons and is known for boosting learning and engagement by offering student choice.

Earlier in the day, Hofmeister helped present the Milken Educator Award to Flowers in front of more than 400 elementary students. Flowers has been the principal of Council Oak Elementary School in Tulsa Public Schools for the last five years.

Flowers is known for her leadership in curriculum development and for fostering innovation within her faculty.

“Aubrey demonstrates unwavering respect for every child in her care,” said Hofmeister. “As an innovative leader who inspires and empowers her teachers to meet the individual learning needs of each student, she nurtures a school culture centered on creativity, patience and growth. We are so proud to have Aubrey represent Oklahoma on the national stage as a Milken Educator.”

Neither educator was aware she was being considered for an award.

Tamarah Danzy

Science teacher Tamarah Danzy is stunned to realize that she is the winner of an Oklahoma Milken Educator Award and a $25,000 cash prize.

Danzy and Flowers are two of only 63 honorees nationwide to receive the Milken Educator Award this year. The award recognizes early to mid-career educators for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.

Gallagher praised both educators for their exemplary achievements in Oklahoma.

“Masterful educators are those who inspire their students as well as their colleagues. Tamarah Danzy’s solutions-oriented approach, model leadership and positive attitude are what make her a Milken Educator,” Gallagher said. “We are proud to welcome Tamarah into the Milken Educator Network and look forward to the contributions she will most certainly provide.

“Outstanding principals demonstrate exceptional leadership for their staff and students alike, and Aubrey embodies this each day at her school. Her attention to detail, inspiring dedication and expert ability to spearhead her school through new learning during the pandemic are just a few reasons why we are proud to honor Aubrey today.”

Danzy was recently named Region 7 Coach of the Year by the Oklahoma Coaches Association. She is known for her ability to connect with students and inspire within them a love for science. In addition to teaching on-level and advanced classes, Danzy mentors students who need extra help transitioning and organizing work in their classes.

“We are extremely proud of Tamarah Danzy for being recognized with the Milken Educator Award, as she is truly one of Union’s most inspiring and accomplished teachers,” said Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler of Union Public Schools. “As a science teacher at the Union Eighth Grade Center, Tamarah has been a joyful and positive presence in the classroom, exemplifying what it means to be a great teacher. To be recognized by the Milken Family Foundation is further affirmation of the educational excellence she pursues every day in her work with Union students. We are so excited for Ms. Danzy to be recognized in this way, as it is so deserving.”

Hofmeister, Danzy & Gallagher

From left, Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister; recipient Aubrey Flowers; and Greg Gallagher, senior program director for the Milken Educator Awards.

Flowers, who is working on her doctorate at the University of Oklahoma, has served as president of the Tulsa Elementary Principal Association. She regularly works with community partners to bring resources to her school and uses test data and flexible small grouping to increase academic growth among students.

“Principal Flowers is an exceptional leader and educator who continues to keep the needs of our students at the center of every decision she makes,” said Dr. Deborah Gist, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. “We are so proud and thrilled that Principal Flowers is joining the Milken Educator family!”

Flowers with students

Students congratulate Principal Aubrey Flowers with a hug after her surprise Milken Educator Award assembly.

In addition to the $25,000 cash prize, the honor includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,800 top teachers, principals and specialists dedicated to strengthening education. Flowers and Danzy will attend a Milken Educator Forum this summer in Santa Monica, Calif., where Milken Educators will network with their new colleagues and exchange ideas with state and federal leaders on the future of education.

The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching,” has been opening minds and shaping futures for over 30 years. The initiative not only aims to reward great teachers, but to celebrate, elevate and activate those innovators in the classroom who are guiding America’s next generation of leaders. Milken Educators believe, “The future belongs to the educated.”

For more information, visit www.MilkenEducatorAwards.org. To follow the awards on social media, use the #MilkenAward hashtag or visit www.facebook.com/milkeneducatorawards, www.twitter.com/milken, www.youtube.com/milkenaward and http://instagram.com/milkenfamilyfdn.

Photos courtesy of the Milken Family Foundation.

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Last updated on April 8, 2022