Congratulations to Lisa Bell of Muscogee County, Georgia’s 2012 Milken Educator

Lisa Bell is Georgia's only Milken Educator winner this year

Lisa Bell is Georgia's only Milken Educator winner this year

From DOE:

Lisa Bell, a teacher at Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy in Muscogee County Schools, was named Georgia’s 2012 National Milken Educator of the Year.

The prestigious national recognition from the Milken Family Foundation comes with a no-strings-attached cash prize of $25,000. Dr. Gary Stark, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, and State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge were among the leaders who participated in the surprise celebration.

Dubbed “the Oscars of teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Educator Awards program was conceived by Lowell Milken to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter the teaching profession. Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken Educator Awards have no formal nomination or application process. Each year exceptional teachers, principals and specialists — recommended without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each state’s department of education — are surprised with the news of their awards.

“Today an exceptional teacher was given a well-deserved honor,” said Superintendent Barge. “I congratulate Ms. Bell and give my sincere appreciation to the Milken Foundation for using their resources for such a great cause – recognizing those who teach and inspire our students.”

Ms. Lisa Bell is one of those teachers who truly thinks outside the box. She engages her students and creates a learning environment which is based on the relationships built within the classroom. She takes time to learn the interests of students and generates content to peak their interest in learning. She is passionate about teaching, learning more herself, and sharing knowledge with students.

Ms. Bell strives to create an environment that is not only safe and engaging but also a family bond that allows students to grow by utilizing their individual talents and interests. Ms. Bell holds her students to very high expectations of performance, instills the values of education in her students and communicates her passion for learning with all stakeholders. She uses many methods of communication to keep parents informed of her expectations and student progress.

She has served as the director of Bloom Central which has been an outdoor literacy center focused on science literacy. She has worked with approximately 30-40 students twice a week each week for 45 minutes to help them develop a love and interest in nature, ecology, and life science. She has been the Hospitality Chairperson for years and is working on a school-wide garden in the courtyard. Ms. Bell was in the Top 3 for “Teacher of the Year” within the Muscogee County School System. She also served as grade level chairperson for several years in the third grade.

Ms. Bell helps all of the teachers on her grade level in moving the children forward. She has had amazing results with student academic successes in literacy as a result of her instructional strategies. She is always willing to share with others and help colleagues to get successful results with students.

Since first presented in 1987 to a dozen California teachers, the Milken Educator Awards has grown to become the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program having honored more than 2,500 teachers, principals and specialists with over $62 million in individual, unrestricted $25,000 awards. In addition to the cash awards, new recipients have the opportunity to join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education. They also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles in the spring to participate in the Milken Educator Forum. The Forum brings together Award-winning educators from across the nation to address innovative strategies for advancing teacher effectiveness. The Awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary educators.

Candidates for the Milken Educator Awards are selected on the basis of the following criteria:

• 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;

• 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;

• Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

(Here is a link to phone video of the announcement. I think we should chip in and buy DOE’s communications director Matt Cardoza a hand-held video camera. Matt made a noble effort but this job required a wide-angle.)

I went to Bell’s class website where she shares a few biographical details, including the fact that she is a home-grown talent.

Hello! My name is Lisa Bell. I have been teaching for 11 years, and all of them at Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy. I graduated from Columbus State University in 2002, and then again in 2007 when I received my Master’s degree.

I am so excited about this school year! I already adore all of your children, and I am so glad they are my students for the 2012-2013 school year. We are going to be learning so many awesome things this year! We are going to be so busy! By the end of the year, your children will definitely be filled with knowledge and many amazing memories!

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

35 comments Add your comment

Truth in Moderation

December 11th, 2012
6:14 pm

Congratulations to Lisa. Is this a science magnet school?
“She has had amazing results with student academic successes in literacy as a result of her instructional strategies.”
In light of the other blog on spelling and grammar, could you tell us the specifics of her “instructional strategies?” Since it is a “magnet” school, is it open enrollment?

Truth in Moderation

December 11th, 2012
6:33 pm

“Only 7% of Detroit Public-School 8th Graders Proficient in Reading”
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/only-7-detroit-public-school-8th-graders-proficient-reading

It sounds like Lisa Bell should be cloned and sent to Detroit!

Pride and Joy

December 11th, 2012
7:49 pm

Good news — LOVE to hear it. I want to know, specifically, what she does to help her students. I would really like to emulate her strategies. Is it possible to at least give us some examples?

Morning Reads 12/12/12 — Peach Pundit

December 12th, 2012
6:17 am

[...] County teacher named 2012 Milken Educator. Allegedly, it’s the education version of the “Oscars.” No golden statues [...]

Pride and Joy

December 12th, 2012
7:03 am

Her classroom appears organized, colorful, meaningful and inviting. It appears she puts a great deal of effort into it. I would like to hear more specifics about HOW she does things differently or effectively. Maureen and AJC, please provide DETAILS for us when you write these stories so that we parents and teachers can understand what we can do to help or what I can do better or more effectively at home.
What ARE her strategies? How does she implement the strategy? How is her strategy different from the usual ones?
Please give us something more than “this is a great teacher.” Please give us specifics.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
7:40 am

Be informed consumers of information. Never every accept something without looking into the basis of it.

“The (Milken) institute was founded in 1991 by former Drexel Burnham Lambert banker Michael Milken, who is known for his role in the development of the market for high-yield bonds (also called junk bonds) during the 1970s and 1980s and his 1990 guilty plea to multiple felony charges that he violated US securities laws.”

“Our mission is to improve lives around the world by advancing innovative economic and policy solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital and enhance health.”

In other words, they’re globalist bankers. Issuing awards can be a way of trying to legitimize an organization.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
7:45 am

When a stranger shows up out of nowhere and gives you an award, you might want to look into who they are and what they are up to. Similarly, school districts often use photogenic “teacher of the year” persons as a sort of hood ornament to do marketing. Be aware.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
7:52 am

The Milken’s stated mission is to “enhance wealth,” likely their own.

“Milken and his brother Lowell founded Knowledge Universe in 1996, as well as Knowledge Learning Corporation (KLC), the parent company of KinderCare Learning Centers, the largest for-profit child care provider in the country. He is currently chairman of the company. Milken also established K12 (company), a publicly traded education management organization (EMO) that provides online schooling, including to charter school students for whom services are paid by tax dollars, which is the largest EMO in terms of enrollment.”

“In March 1989, a federal grand jury indicted Milken on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud. The indictment accused Milken of a litany of misconduct, including insider trading, stock parking (concealing the real owner of a stock), tax evasion and numerous instances of repayment of illicit profits. The most intriguing charge was that Boesky paid Drexel $5.3 million in 1986 for Milken’s share of profits from illegal trading. This payment was represented as a consulting fee to Drexel. …This was one of the first times RICO was used against an individual with no ties to organized crime”

Truth in Moderation

December 12th, 2012
9:36 am

@PC
Good research. I posted all of this last year when a different Georgia teacher received the award. However, Lisa Bell might genuinely deserve some recognition, if we could just get some details on her “instructional strategies.”

You did post one bit of new info I had missed last year: “Milken also established K12 (company).”
This is significant in light of the passage of the Charter Amendment.

Morning Reads 12/12/12

December 12th, 2012
10:35 am

[...] County teacher named 2012 Milken Educator. Allegedly, it’s the education version of the “Oscars.” No golden statues [...]

Prof

December 12th, 2012
10:52 am

Folks, can’t we just celebrate with Lisa Bell? Imagine that you’re in her shoes. You’ve been in your profession for 11 years and are in your early 30s. You’ve been knocking yourself out to help your young elementary school students, with all of the energy of the young teacher. You’ve just been given a hard-to-get award that says you’re a success in your field. Superintendent Barge has just praised you. You’ve also just gotten a substantial cash prize that is probably more than half your annual salary, given that you’re a school teacher.

Can’t we all just be happy for her?

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
11:02 am

Truth, they’re globalist bankers who are colonizing education. Their use of people for “awards” is part of the marketing budget. As collar, says, in this age of training to remove “values,” a convicted racketeer is accepted as bestower of honorary gifts. It’s about like mama accepting money from the trafficker that kidnapped their child. Get real people. Burn that money / reject the award / don’t be used by a convicted criminal. They were giving “education” awards in 1987 and got indicted in 1989. The USA has really become awash in domination from these central power persons. Go to federal court one day to account as a criminal with 98 counts of racketeering and fraud, and put on a tuxedo and go to give education awards banquet the next day.

“Milken pled guilty to securities fraud the same year (1990) and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $600-million fine; released after 22 months, he since made a second fortune.” http://www.answers.com/topic/michael-milken#ixzz2Eqr2bl1Y

Ha. How is it that a school teacher or principal or whatever has to have a squeaky clean record, and the guy served time in federal prison is allowed to pluck them out of the school house and give awards? Meanwhile, Georgia school teacher gets fired for showing a photo on their web-log of holding up a beer class at a restaurant during their vacation.

An award from an EMO – education management organization gives the impression of being payola: “Bribery of an influential person in exchange for the promotion of a product or service,” at least in the last instance in Georgia, where the award recipient actually ended up running a new charter school. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/payola All of those “award recipients” are in targeted markets? The Milkens aren’t going to waste their time anywhere else.

2011 Milken Award recipient in Georgia: http://www.mff.org/mea/mea.taf?page=recipient&meaID=24125

Here’s the deal. The immediately prior Milken award recipient in Georgia now has their own charter school and at the school website there is zero information about if there is an EMO – education management organization affiliated with the school. The “About” page basically tells you completely and absolutely nothing. The school is represented as being started by two teachers, as if they started their own hardware store or bakery or something. I expect there is more to it, because this is a complex business model. Is it pre-made? Can anyone answer, Is there an EMO associated with the school http://www.silveriacademy.org/ ? The school site does not inform about this. There is basically a big blank spot re: official affiliations that make up the operation of the school. The Milken award represents an award from an EMO for-profit company. Does this award recipient school do business with the same company? Does anyone know the EMO affiliation for http://www.silveriacademy.org/ ? -not trying to spam the place, but it is notable the absence of information on their formula “governance” page that no specific affiliation for the school, nothing, nada, zero. What does this mean? It sure is not “open” information in the tradition of governing.

The prior Milken award recipient looks like a dedicated and wonderful person, but do we know if they have been co-opted in financial service for the Milken’s? From the recipient’s charter school website, we can not tell. Maybe someone has insight about it. Point is, we can not tell one way or the other, and it seems fundamental to the operation of the school and information is not present.

Here’s a 2010-2011 summary report of Education Management Organizations nepc.colorado.edu/files/EMO-profiles-10-11_0.pdf

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
11:05 am

formatted link to 2010 – 2011 summary report of EMOs: http://nepc.colorado.edu/files/EMO-profiles-10-11_0.pdf

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
11:09 am

June 6, 2011
The Convict Who Stole Public Education—Milken’s Online Learning Cash Cow
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2011/06/convict-who-stole-public.html

Prof

December 12th, 2012
11:31 am

One of Aesop’s Fables:

One hot summer’s day a fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”

It is easy to despise what you cannot get.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
11:43 am

The Milken website self-promotes their award: “The Awards, hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher magazine” http://www.mff.org/

Part of trademarking terms like “Teacher” and “K12″ makes it very difficult to do relevant internet search on these companies as terms. Search for “Teacher Magazine” takes you to edweek.org to something called “Editorial Projects in Education” takes you to http://www.edweek.org/info/about/board.html although the server link is not responding, which means either dear and loved Comcast is glitching or their “edweek” server is glitching. Point is, who is “Teacher Magazine” and why are they promoting the Milken Award? There is not a clear web presence for the term “Teacher Magazine.” Okay, the link is sort-of responding now. One of the trustees is “a strategic consulting firm and investment bank.”

In other words, these are hardly autonomous unrelated activities / organizations.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
11:47 am

Let’s just say that “teachers” are not running “Teacher Magazine.”

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
12:02 pm

Prof. maybe you do not see conflict of interest. When investment banker is trustee of magazine giving award to investment banker running education management agency, I’d say something is going on and people are being manipulated in a strategic manner. This is hardly how “education awards” are done in places that are not dominated by investment bankers and numerous “non-profit” ventures that serve for-profit interests. Yes, they put on a good show and maybe even make you feel good via the “NPR” warm and fuzzy method. I note the folks affiliated with edweek.org are the usual cast of characters told at the end of NPR radio shows, the “benevolent” trustees and such. It is an odd thing, here is the US. It is like every square inch of the land is mapped and stategized. You ought to recognise the manipulation of someone in business giving industry awards. It is certainly PR for the award giver. It is kind of a twist if you think of a private services provider going around and giving awards to public workers, sort of planting seeds for good will and contracts for their company.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
12:15 pm

Here’s “edweek.org” teacher provided version without the “Academy Awards Oscar’s:” http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2011/10/us-teachers-among-lowest-paid-and-most.html

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
12:24 pm

Here’s what the teacher weblog says “Most of the countries that are typically held out as having exemplary education systems also have considerably less childhood poverty than the U.S”

and provides this info-graphic on the United States, http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/10/29/opinion/29blow-ch.html

Prof

December 12th, 2012
12:30 pm

@ Private Citizen. I’m saying that it seems mean-spirited at this particular time and place–a celebratory story about this young teacher on an Education blog read by many fellow educators– to go into an extended exposure of the corrupt practices of the organization that gave her the award.

She sounds very much like the sort of educator who too often goes unrecognized except by her students, and I for one am very pleased for her.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
12:35 pm

Something they can’t have. That’s funny, prof.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
12:45 pm

Prof, of course you or I do not know this person, however yes, there is every reason to say they are hip, cool, capable, dedicated, magical to students, one who does great things for their community families, and probably someone who could show other teachers a lot of great of things. But I do not think receiving the Milken Award is their golden hour. Personally, I think they should refuse / discard the award, but that is none of my business. It would make news, though, especially if they did it loud and clear. Prof, we are now, especially in the age of feelings. How someone feels is more than what is right or wrong. Well, I think what matter is whether my students have eyeglasses is more important than how someone feels. I’m sure you get my point and no offense meant or intended for the young lady chosen for the award. I wish she could get a hundred awards and a check with every one of them. I am certain she has earned it and deserving recognition and is unique in her contribution. But you have to look at where something comes from. You have to examine the legitimacy of where something comes from. There is nothing wrong with this and it is a good thing. Prof, if your tv gets stolen and I call you up and say, “Hey, I just bought this cool tv for $25.” is that a good thing? I’m supposed to look at where it comes from. There is an old saying about contracting, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
1:26 pm

Prof, I’m probably doing Ms. Bell a favor. There are many many stories online of teachers who are “surprised” by a Milken Award. I thought to myself, the next thing they’ll be wanting to do is fly her out to a conference for a group photo and some New World Order indoctrination. Sure enough, according the Milken website, the award ” includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout the recipients’ careers in education.” Looks like an indoctrination / pyramid program. Sure, you get some spending money on the front end of it. This is not an “award” when they shake your hand, give you a check, and you never see them again. They want you to sign up, they’re looking for “talent” and they can provide “opportunities.” I guess you could take their check and then put “unsubscribe” in the heading of a return email, but I wouldn’t accept it, myself, and be put into that position. It looks like the Milken’s are using the award apparatus to co-opt state DOE’s. Their site states, “state’s department of education appoints an independent blue ribbon committee.” That means this “award” is used for face time / meet’n'greet with state DOE. They’re not doing this because they’re nice people. They’re in business. They intend to make money.

Prof, this is some weird stuff. Their website describes “names are announced at emotional all-school assemblies. In a moment’s time, cheering students, proud colleagues, an entourage of distinguished officials and the media”

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. “new awardees are inducted into the national Milken Educator Network” “a network of more than 2,400 teachers who have served as resources to policymakers, researchers, the media and general public” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milken_Family_Foundation

Essentially, they are building an on-call lobbyist group, ready to activate and send on errands and missions. Please note the Milken Award is stated to be a lifetime achievement award. They are specifically targeting mid-career professionals. In this regard, they could probably be run up the flagpole for bias. They are specific in their objectives and are building a demographic based network group for a certain reason. They are investing in mid-career professionals for some object or payload-delivery expected from these persons. That sounds harsh. I would not accept the award due to the demographic requirements on the front end. In this regard it is not an award based on individuals. RIght out front, they have described an initial priority before the human is put into the equation.

The Milkens are coming at things from so many different angles. This .pdf http://www.tapsystem.org/pubs/successful_performance_pay_july_2007.pdf wants “Performance-pay systems provide teachers the opportunity to pursue a variety of positions throughout their careers – inductee, career, mentor and master teacher – depending upon their interests, abilities and accomplishments. As teachers move up the career ladder, their qualifications, roles and responsibilities should increase”

What does that mean? Most real teachers want absolutely nothing to do with that. They want minimal sensible management that does not interfere in their work. They do not want to “move up” and colonize the workplace. Anything but.

from the same .pdf “The Algiers charter schools in New Orleans, Louisiana—implementing the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) under a $17.6 million federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant awarded to the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching—are using objective measures of student achievement. These schools use the measures to determine 50% of teachers’ performance bonuses. This is broken down into two segments and a “value-added” model is applied: (1) 20% is based on school-wide value-added growth and (2) 30% is based on a teacher’s individual classroom valued-added gains.”

So the Milkens were involved in the Bush forced charter school take-over of New Orleans following Katrina, and this is part of their management plan of what is expected of teacher employees at their charter schools, a pyramid structure where teachers are expect to me mini-me managers over other teachers and invest lots of time in “professional development during instructional time” or somesuch. As I recall from the Harvard round-table discussion video about the chart schools takeover of New Orleans, a real beta test case, their mixed results and in particular, the round table discussion coordinator described the financial accountability side as “not as bad as you say, but much worse.” Here’s the video, if you want to scan through it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb-qlt3O0Asu

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
1:28 pm

typo correction: Please note the Milken Award is stated to not be a lifetime achievement award.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
1:48 pm

Here’s where it get interesting about “the promise” vs. “the money” in the New Orleans charter takeover. Overall theme: “marketization.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb-qlt3O0As#t=85m

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
1:57 pm

the Milken plan: “A comprehensive school reform system, TAP provides teachers and administrators with powerful opportunities to pursue multiple career paths, receive ongoing daily-applied professional growth, participate in instructionally focused accountability and earn additional compensation and bonuses based on multiple measures of performance.” http://niet.org/about-niet/about-niet-chairman-lowell-milken/

combined with “Knowledge Universe Education, a worldwide leader in early childhood education as well as K-12 programs and services” “Knowledge Universe is a leading global education organisation with a network of more than 3,000 locations worldwide, employing over 40,000 education professionals, operating early childhood education centres, international schools, colleges, large on-line schools and school management systems, which together touch over 300,000 students daily.” http://www.kueducation.com/

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
2:06 pm

hey Ms. Bell, Congratulations and Good Luck!

Private Citizen

December 13th, 2012
8:06 am

Superintendent Barge has just praised you.

Superintendent Barge can go jump in a lake. He’s the guy who brought us “Race to The Top” and now he is trafficking with investment banker take-over artists. Superindendent Barge signs on to big power qand then unleashes it onto the people. Superintendent Barge goes along with big power from outside the state of Georgia. He’s like the doorman who opens the door to power interests and greets them and invites them in and seats them. Superindentent Barge should receive designation as a “business coordinator” like someone running a business part. Oh yes, Superindent Barge has recognised Ms. Bell because she is a mark being used by a business interest. It like someone giving you a compliment because you own the prettiest farm on the sweetest hill that they intend to take from you, so they give you a compliment (a check) and say, “My my that sure is a pretty house.” If they’re a super-active real estate developer, you better believe they are not on a weekend walk and enjoying their love for fresh air. Who is Superintendent Barge and what has he accomplished besides being a gatekeeper? Superintendent Barge has some very pretty stuff at his website. If Superintendent Barge were a student of mine, I would say some of his work is incomplete and needs to be finished.

Private Citizen

December 13th, 2012
8:19 am

“John Barge” is like “Sonny Purdue” is that he courts business. Most folk did not care for Sonny Purdue. I thought he was a good fellow. I’m glad he brought us Common Core. But Common Core was from the national governor’s association, not from investment banking seeking to harvest the people and “build wealth” (for whom?)

Private Citizen

December 13th, 2012
10:04 am

Hey Superintendent Barge, Do you “love God” or is your belief to “fear God?” Do you work in fear, or do you conceive of creative ideas and get things done? (watch the Hindu movie “Oh My God OMG!” for elaboration. You might have to buy / order a copy to get it with subtitles.

Pride and Joy

December 15th, 2012
9:43 am

Private Citizen, why all the anger? She got an award. We should be glad for it. Why are you so against her getting an award? So what if the Milken organization is not what you would want it to be. This teacher was recognized and got a meaningful prize — cash.
Now about that “photogenic” comment. Who are you kidding? You are really complaining that they chose a white candidate because this teacher certainly isn’t “photogenic”.
You’re pizzed because a white teacher got a prize.
Your snarky comment is racist.

Observer

December 15th, 2012
12:14 pm

@ Pride and Joy. I think that the “anger” of Private Citizen about this teacher getting the Milken prize is less complicated than being “racist.” On previous posts, PC has mentioned several times that he/she used to be a teacher, and is now unemployed. Sure sounds like envy to me….or sour grapes, as Prof suggested.

Also, I beg to disagree! Lisa Bell certainly IS “photogenic,” for she looks incandescent with happiness. That’s why PC’s continued snarkiness here is so hard to read.

Pride and Joy

December 15th, 2012
1:12 pm

Observer, when PC complains the teacher got the award because she was “photogenic,” PC meant “white.” It IS a racist comment.
PC thinks the teacher earned her title because she was a white teacher.
That IS racist.

Observer

December 15th, 2012
5:21 pm

P&J, Seems like a sexist statement to me, to tell you the truth. In any case, it’s a slam upon her professional accomplishments.