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NEWS RELEASES 2008-09 :: OCTOBER 29, 2008


Bryan Holley, a fourth grade teacher at Corinth–Holders Elementary School (Johnston County Public Schools), today received what some call the "Oscar of Teaching" when he was named North Carolina's 2008 Milken Family Foundation National Educator award recipient.

Milken Family Foundation Senior Vice President Jane Foley made the surprise announcement during a school-wide assembly. Holley is among the nation's approximately 80 most recent 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 over 2,300 past recipients from across the nation. Holley is the only North Carolina educator to receive the award this year.

State Superintendent June Atkinson, who assisted in the presentation, said she looks forward to participating in this annual event. "I have met so many exemplary teachers across the state during my travels and wished I could recognize their efforts in some way. How thrilling it is for me to be at Corinth-Holders Elementary School and be able to recognize one of our state's best," Atkinson said. Atkinson added that everyone she had met spoke very highly of Holley. "His love for teaching and for his students is highly evident as is his commitment to doing whatever it takes to ensure their success," she said. North Carolina has participated in Milken for the past 14 years.

An independent, blue ribbon committee appointed by each state's department of educationFP selects the potential recipients on a state-by-state basis for the award for submission to the Milken Foundation. Predetermined criteria include exceptional educational 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; strong, long-term potential for professional and policy leadership; and an engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

Holley is noted for his ability to differentiate instruction in his classroom and often has as many as four groups working at the same time. Each student is challenged and encouraged where they are academically to ensure that they each experience success. He is determined to seek out any and all teaching strategies that will help his students be successful and is constantly assessing his students and readjusting his teaching strategies to ensure they are growing academically. His training in the effects of poverty has enabled him to understand the thinking processes of socioeconomically disadvantaged students and to adapt his teaching style to incorporate some of those principles to help his students succeed.

Holley earned a bachelor's degree in Business Education in 2001 from East Carolina University, a master's degree in reading in 2007, also from East Carolina University, and has just completed the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification process and is waiting for his results. He is involved with North Carolina Teaching Fellows activities, serves as a mentor for beginning teachers at Corinth-Holders Elementary and also as a mentor coordinator for the district, is a member of the School Improvement Team and the district's improvement team, and serves as vice president for the school's Parent Teacher Organization.

Holley will join up to 80 other educators in 48 states and the District of Columbia as the latest recipients of this prestigious award, which was established to provide exceptional K-12 educators with public recognition and to inspire talented young people to consider teaching as a career. In addition to the financial award and educational networking opportunities, the Milken Family Foundation provides recipients with a variety of professional resources to help them cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts. They also receive an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles, Calif. in April 2009 for the annual Milken National Education Conference.

"Nothing in America's K-12 schools has more influence on student learning than the quality of the classroom teacher," Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken said. "Highly effective teachers are the bedrock in constructing a world-class education system that meets our challenges and opportunities in this 21st century."

Dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher Magazine, the Milken National Educator Awards were established in 1985 to reward, retain and attract the highest caliber professionals for our nation's schools. The award alternates each year between elementary and secondary educators. To date, 43 North Carolina educators have received this award, sharing a total of almost $1.1 million. Nationally, over $60 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, For information about the awards presented in North Carolina, please contact the NCDPI's Communications division at 919.807.3450.


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.