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NEWS RELEASES 2001-02 :: OCTOBER 8, 2001


If you're a North Carolina public school teacher, your reward for a job well done usually comes in the form of a well-deserved pat on the back from your principal, a note of thanks from a parent or a hug from a student. Although each is greatly appreciated, none comes close to an unrestricted check in the amount of $25,000. Cindy Moss, a biology teacher at Independence High School in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, found out just how good that feels when she was named a Milken Family Foundation National Educator today.

Today's surprise notification was made by State Superintendent Mike Ward and Milken Family Foundation President Lowell Milken. Moss is among the 120 newest recipients of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, which carries with it an unrestricted financial award of $25,000 and membership in a network of more than 1,700 past recipients from around the nation. Three North Carolina educators will receive this award this year.

State Superintendent Mike Ward said that he was delighted to have the opportunity, through the Milken Family Foundation, to recognize such outstanding educators. "North Carolina is blessed to have so many outstanding teachers in the classroom. Cindy Moss is a prime example of how our schools are ensuring that students graduate with the skills they need to succeed. This is our eighth year of recognizing excellence in education through the Milken Family Foundation, and I'm proud to acknowledge the vision and dedication Cindy brings to the profession," he said.

Recipients of the award are selected by an independent blue-ribbon committee appointed by each state's department of education. Predetermined criteria for the award include exceptional educational talent as evidenced by outstanding instructional practices in the classroom, school and profession; outstanding accomplishment and strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and an engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

Moss was selected for the award because of her expertise in kinesthetic learning and her ability to help low-achieving students succeed. She also was chosen for her work with the environment, specifically groundwater issues. She has made numerous presentations on using learning styles research to design effective review materials and strategies to prepare for end-of-course tests; using stories and songs to teach biology; and establishing business partnerships with content classrooms. Her classroom's work with the local EPA to protect groundwater by educating the community led to a $40,000, 10-year renewable grant.

Moss earned Coach of the Year honors as Independence High Schools' cross-country coach and spends some of her free time working with homeless families and as a volunteer interpreter for various organizations. She currently is enrolled in a doctoral program, conducting research on the topic, "Factors in the classroom learning environment that lead to improved scores on the North Carolina Biology End-of-Course assessment."

She will join 119 other educators in 44 states as the latest recipients of this prestigious award, which was established to provide public and financial recognition to teachers, principals, and other education professionals who are advancing excellence in education. In addition to the financial award and educational networking opportunities, recipients are provided with a variety of professional resources to help them cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools, and districts. They also will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles in June 2002 for the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference.

"Outstanding educators are the essential ingredient in student achievement, encouraging children to perform to their fullest abilities and to develop a love of learning," said Foundation President Lowell Milken. "Each and every day, these educators provide students with the confidence and tools to succeed."

Dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher Magazine, the Milken National Educator Awards were created in 1985 to reward, retain and attract the highest caliber professionals to our nation's schools. The award alternates each year between elementary and secondary educators. To date, 33 North Carolina educators have received this award, sharing a total of $825,000. Nationally, $44.4 million has been awarded since the program's inception.

To receive additional information on the Milken Educator Awards, the National Education Conference, or other Milken Family Foundation programs, please call 310.998.2800 or visit the Milken Family Foundation Web site, For information about the awards presented in North Carolina, contact Cecil Banks, Center for Recruitment and Retention, DPI, 919.807.3375.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.