The holiday season just got a lot jollier for Amanda Robertson, who teaches math to fourth graders at Jones Intermediate School in Mount Airy City Schools. Robertson was just named North Carolina’s 2016 Milken Educator Award recipient and received a check for $25,000 to spend as she pleases. Robertson joins up to 35 other educators nationwide to win the award this year.
State Superintendent June Atkinson surprised Robertson and her school with the news during a schoolwide assembly.
“Amanda’s rapport with her students makes them want to strive to exceed expectations,” Atkinson said. “Their success can in large part be attributed to her work with Problem-Based Learning, which has garnered her much-deserved accolades from fellow teachers. Jones Intermediate is fortunate to have her on staff; and North Carolina is fortunate to have her in its teaching ranks.”
Robertson has taught for eight years, the last three at Mount Airy City Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2007 from Texas A&M University. She serves as her school’s grade-level chair and on its media and technology team. She also serves as a Problem-Based Learning trainer for Wake Forest University’s Center of Excellence for Research, Teaching and Learning program.
She was Teacher of the Year for 2015-16 for Jones Intermediate School as well as the Mount Airy City Schools district.
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. 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.
“Students are the stars in Amanda Robertson’s classroom, where they collaborate on project-based learning, think critically, harness strengths and refine areas of improvement,” said Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards. “The culture of high expectations that Amanda has created will prepare her students for success in school and life. I congratulate her on the impact she has made on her students, school and broader community.”
Called the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher magazine, the Milken Educator Awards is in its 30th year. 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, 49 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 2016-17 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum this spring 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.