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Master Teacher of Osborn School District in Phoenix, Arizona, Receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award

“Oscar of Teaching” Goes to Ana Gutierrez of Longview Elementary School
for Guiding Educators and Students Alike


March 26, 2015

SANTA MONICA, CA—It was the surprise of a lifetime for Ana Gutierrez when she was presented with the prestigious Milken Educator Award—and its accompanying $25,000 cash prize—before a schoolwide assembly at Osborn School District’s Longview Elementary School, located in Phoenix,  Arizona. Gutierrez helps drive instruction at Longview as a master teacher in TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement. The TAP System is a comprehensive initiative implemented districtwide that is focused on increasing educator effectiveness and improving student achievement growth.

Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken, joined by Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, delivered the news of the award.

Gutierrez is one of up to 40 recipients across the country this school year who will be receiving the honor. She joins fifth-grade teacher Shalini Sharma of Friendly House Academia del Pueblo Elementary Charter School in Phoenix—awarded earlier this morning—as the only two Arizona recipients for the 2014–15 season. The Milken Award recognizes exemplary elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education.

“We’ve been presenting these awards for almost 30 years because we believe—and the research proves it—that effective educators represent the most important school-based factor in improving student performance,” said Lowell Milken. “Ana Gutierrez plays an integral role in Longview Elementary’s efforts to raise student achievement growth by developing a strong instructional team.  She is a trusted mentor whose work in sharing best practices and guiding others is making a difference at the school, district, state and national levels.”

Along with the fanfare and recognition, Gutierrez now belongs to the Milken Educator Network of more than 2,600 K–12 teachers, principals and specialists from around the country.

“Incredible educators like Ana Gutierrez inspire me every day and I am so pleased she is receiving this much-deserved recognition,” said Superintendent Douglas. “As a master teacher she has distinguished herself as both a leader among her colleagues and an agent of positive change for Longview’s students. My hope is that she will continue to share her skills and knowledge with educators and their students across Arizona and beyond.”

Over the span of eight years spent working in education, Gutierrez has become a first-class leader. Her goal to raise student achievement by helping teachers to improve their craft is evident in every task she pursues, whether it is guiding TAP professional development “cluster” meetings; working with teachers to refine their lessons during observations and post-conferences; or modeling, mentoring and team-teaching to ensure that her fellow colleagues have a firm hand on how to effectively implement strategies that will increase their skills and classroom performance.

Gutierrez started working with the TAP System as a career (classroom) teacher at Longview Elementary. Because of her effectiveness in instruction and in realizing student achievement gains, her principal recruited her to become a TAP mentor teacher. In this role, she was integral to the school’s TAP Leadership Team, made up of mentor teachers, master teachers and administrators all focused on moving the whole school forward.

In 2013, Gutierrez ascended to the role of TAP master teacher. In addition to participating in all leadership team activities, she holds bi-weekly data discussions with different grade levels, which support lesson planning and interventions for students.

Due in significant part to her leadership, Longview Elementary’s AIMS Reading scores have risen from 59% to 66% between 2012-2014 and AIMS Math scores increased from 46% to 53% during that same time period. Longview—a Title I Focus School—moved from a C to a B under Arizona’s letter-grade system.

Beyond the school, Gutierrez collaborates with TAP master teachers and administrators districtwide in creating and researching strategies that support educators and students alike. Her accomplishments took her to Capitol Hill, where she presented on comprehensive educator effectiveness models. A lifelong learner, Gutierrez has networked in the state with other TAP Leadership Teams to gain insight into educational experiences that have been successful in similar schools. 

Gutierrez is a first-generation college graduate. She received a B.S. in child development and family studies and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from Arizona State University.  She is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at Grand Canyon University.

For photos and video of Gutierrez receiving her Milken Educator Award, visit http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/ana-gutierrez.

Photos and videos from Sharma’s event can be viewed at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/shalini-sharma.  

The Milken Family Foundation first presented the Milken Educator Awards in 1987. Since that time, it has become the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program and was dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher magazine. More than $137 million in funding, including over $65 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the overall program, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients’ careers. 

In Arizona, 34 recipients have been presented with the Milken Educator Award since the program began there in 1998.

Alternating yearly between elementary and secondary educators, the Awards are sourced through each participating state and recommendations are made to MFF. Past recipients have used their Awards to finance their children’s education or their own continuing education. Others have financed dream field trips, established scholarships and even funded the adoption of children.

To get regular updates on notifications, follow the #TeachForTheStars and #MilkenAward hashtags on Twitter and Instagram.

For information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/newsroom/media-kit or call MFF at (310) 570-4775. Like the Awards at www.facebook.com/milkeneducatorawards, follow us at www.twitter.com/milken and at www.instagram.com/milkenfamilyfdn and watch the reaction videos at www.youtube.com/milkenaward.

The Milken Educator Awards program, created by the Milken Family Foundation, was launched in 1987. The Awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.

Jana Rausch
Senior Manager of Media and Public Affairs
310-570-4774 310-435-9259