PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera joined School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite, Mayor Jim Kenney, Rep. Brian Sims, Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken, and students and staff from Andrew Jackson Elementary School at a school assembly today to present teacher Jayda Pugliese with the 2016 Milken Educator Award.
Pugliese is a fifth grade teacher at the elementary school who has an expertise in blended learning. She has obtained grants and donations to stock her classroom with a 3D printer and has introduced students to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) practices and principles during her short time at the school. More than 80 percent of her students have shown growth in math skills, due in large part to her leadership and encouragement.
"It is a great honor to be named Milken Educator of the Year, and it is certainly a testament to the dedication, knowledge, and great contributions Ms. Pugliese has made to her students and school," said Secretary Rivera. "She serves not only as a role model and a leader to her students, but also to her peers. On behalf of the entire Department of Education and the Philadelphia community, we thank her for her outstanding work."
The Milken Educator Award was launched by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987 to recognize early-to-mid career K–12 teachers, principals and specialists, and to honor them with an unrestricted $25,000 award. Candidates are confidentially recommended to the Foundation by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by Department of Education and must meet several criteria.
"Jayda Pugliese is a tenacious and innovative leader who gives students tangible opportunities to explore and excel in both the arts and sciences. Her blended learning expertise and skill in cutting-edge technology are exemplary," said Lowell Milken. "We are proud to recognize Jayda with this Award and are confident that she will continue to prepare talented young minds for a globally competitive society."
Milken Educator awardees receive the opportunity to join the national Milken Educator Network, which is dedicated to strengthening K-12 education across the nation.
"Studies have shown that simply having an effective teacher can impact students more than any other factor, including class size and socioeconomic background, and a high-quality educator can increase the lifetime earnings of a classroom by hundreds of thousands of dollars," added Rivera. "By encouraging growth and introducing students to STEM fields at a young age, Ms. Pugliese is setting them up for a lifetime of future success, and that's something that all children across the commonwealth deserve."
MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman, PDE, 717.783.9802
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education