Gateway School District Educator Wins 2012 Milken Educator Award

Nov 27, 2012, 10:39 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Education

MONROEVILLE, Pa., Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jennifer Hoffner-Turkowski, a teacher at University Park Elementary School in Allegheny County, was surprised this morning with a presentation of the 2012 Milken Educator Award and $25,000.

Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis today joined Dr. Jane Foley, vice president of the Milken Educator Awards for the Milken Family Foundation, presented the award to Hoffner-Turkowski during a surprise assembly at the Gateway School District elementary school.

"On behalf of Governor Tom Corbett, I want to congratulate Jennifer for being selected for this prestigious honor," Tomalis said. "The quality teaching that Jennifer offers to her students is of tremendous benefit to their academic success.  Pennsylvania is proud to have one of its educators recognized for exemplary performance in the classroom."

Hoffner-Turkowski, who has taught for eight years, holds bachelors' degrees in both elementary education, as well as health policy and administration. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in education, including a principal certification program.

During her tenure in Gateway School District, Hoffner-Turkowski serves as the district-wide first-grade team leader; developed University Park's school-wide improvement plan; developed grade level remedial and advanced lessons in reading and math; and serves on the Pennsylvania: Leads, Empowering, Advancing and Diversifying Schools (PA Leads) core team, which focuses on increasing student academic achievement and educational growth.

"Jennifer is joining a class of more than 50 Pennsylvania educators who have been recognized for their commitment to student success," Tomalis said.  "Jennifer is an exemplary individual who is dedicated to helping kids succeed regardless of their background or personal situation. Jennifer is to be applauded for her commitment."

The Milken Educator Award is one of the nation's top teacher recognition programs that honor K-12 teachers, principals and specialists across the country with a $25,000 individual, unrestricted award. Since the first award was granted in 1987, Milken has awarded more than $63 million to more than 2,500 educators throughout the United States.

Part of the selection process included a recommendation by an independent committee within the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  Criteria for selection to the Milken Foundation included:

  • Exceptional education talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;
  • Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;
  • Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight;
  • Early- to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and
  • Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

Milken Educator Award recipients are also inducted into the national Milken Educator Network, which is dedicated to reforming and strengthening K-12 education across the nation.

Editor's Note:  For additional information about the Milken Educator Award and the Milken Family Foundation, visit

Media Contact: Tim Eller, 717-783-9802

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education