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NEWS RELEASES 2003-04

NEWS RELEASES 2003-04 :: OCTOBER 9, 2003

MONTE RECEIVES THE "OSCAR" OF EDUCATION AWARDS

If you're a North Carolina public school teacher, your reward for a job well done usually comes in the form of praise from your principal, a note of thanks from a parent or an excited smile from a student. Although each is greatly appreciated, none comes close to an unrestricted check in the amount of $25,000. Chris Monte, a U.S. History teacher and soccer coach at J.F. Webb High School, Granville County Schools, found out today just how good that feels when he was named a 2003 Milken Family Foundation National Educator.

State Superintendent Mike Ward made today's surprise notification during a school-wide assembly. Monte is among the 100 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 nearly 2,000 past recipients from around the nation. Two North Carolina educators received the award this year.

Superintendent Ward said that he was delighted to have the opportunity, through the Milken Family Foundation, to recognize such outstanding educators. "Chris Monte is an outstanding example as to why our public school students made such incredible academic progress this year. He exemplifies what a ‘High Quality' teacher is under No Child Left Behind. This is our tenth year of recognizing excellence in education through the Milken Family Foundation, and I'm proud to acknowledge the vision and dedication Chris brings to the profession," he said.

An independent blue-ribbon committee appointed by each state's department of education selects the recipients for the award. 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.

Colleagues of Monte say he exemplifies creativity and innovation in his classroom presentations. He engages his students in projects that require both creativity and higher order thinking skills and includes thought-provoking discussion in his lesson plans. To help keep students and parents on top of assignments, instructions for projects and important dates, he created and maintains a class Web page. He is a very caring individual who always has his students' best interests at heart. He holds review sessions on Saturdays before tests, and is always willing to go beyond the call of duty in order to ensure that his students are well-prepared for the tasks at hand. He is currently teaching a new course he developed, "A Multi-Media History of the United States," as an elective. Monte is National Board Certified and a 2001 Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalist.

Monte will join 99 other educators in 47 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 Washington, D.C., in May 2004 for the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference.

"By choosing to practice in the most noble and important profession, our nation's talented educators make a lasting contribution to young people's minds, imaginations and character," said Foundation President Lowell Milken." We are proud to honor the outstanding work of these gifted teachers, providing them with the recognition they so richly deserve."

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, 37 North Carolina educators have received this award, sharing a total of $925,000. Nationally, over $49 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 310.570.4775 or visit the Milken Family Foundation Web site, http://www.mff.org. For information about the awards presented in North Carolina, contact Dan Holloman, 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.