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NEWS RELEASES 2002-03 :: APRIL 21, 2003


RALEIGH, N.C. - A Cumberland County principal has received the state's top honor in the 2003 Wachovia Principal of the Year competition.

North Carolina's 2002 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award recipients Lara Cabaniss and Julie Barbee will travel to Los Angeles, California, later this week to attend the 2003 Milken National Education Conference and receive their $25,000 unrestricted financial awards.

Cabaniss, a K-5 Curriculum Specialist at Fred L. Wilson Elementary School (Kannapolis City Schools) and Julie Barbee, a third/fourth grade combination teacher at Locust Elementary School (Stanly County Schools) received the Milken Award last October during a series of surprise notifications by State Superintendent Mike Ward.

Recipients of the award are selected by an independent blue-ribbon committee appointed by each state's education department. Predetermined criteria for the award include expert pedagogy, distinguished achievement in developing innovative curricula, programs and/or teaching methods, outstanding ability to instill sound values in students, and commitment to professional development and excellence among others. Last year was North Carolina's ninth year of recognizing excellence in education through the Milken Family Foundation.

During the April 26-28 conference, which coincides with the 20th anniversary release of "A Nation at Risk," educators will participate in intensive workshops and professional development opportunities designed to "propel effective teaching into greater student achievement." The conference culminates with the Milken Educator Awards gala during which 100 recipients from across the nation will receive their unrestricted $25,000 Milken National Educator Awards. The Milken Family Foundation characterizes the "black-tie affair, which Teacher Magazine calls the 'Oscars of Teaching,' as a way to honor K-12 educators and celebrate their achievements in true Hollywood fashion."

For more information about North Carolina's Milken recipients, please contact Joyce Loveless, Center for Recruitment and Retention, NC DPI, 919.807.3358. For more information about the 2003 Milken National Education Conference and the National Educator Awards program, please call the Milken Family Foundation's Department of Communications at 310.570.4775, or visit the Foundation's Web site at

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.