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Virginia Teacher Surprised with Milken Educator Award and $25,000 Cash


March 12, 2015

SANTA MONICA, CA — When teacher Angie Michelle Wytovich, followed by her second graders, walked into the packed gym at Buckland Mills Elementary School for the assembly Thursday morning, she had no idea the event had been organized in her honor.

During the school assembly and amid raucous applause and cheering, Wytovich was surprised with a Milken Educator Award and $25,000 to spend however she wishes.

On hand to help deliver the good news and recognize the work of this educator as a model for the state and nation was Dr. Steven R. Staples, Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Secretary of Education, the Honorable Anne Holton. They were joined by Milken Family Foundation Co-Founder Michael Milken and Prince William County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven L. Walts, along with veteran Milken Educators and other dignitaries.

“Angie Wytovich is known for her dedication to students and for her efforts to ensure that each child receives the appropriate attention necessary to succeed in the classroom,” Staples said. “Her passion for doing whatever it takes to help students succeed is a model for her profession.”

Milken points to how Angie is a leader at Buckland Mills and gives an example.

“In addition to the challenges all educators face, Angie and her colleagues teach in an elementary school of 700 students where more than 26 languages are spoken,” said Milken. “Angie tailors her curriculum to each student, often involving parents through inventive means including translators and on-line forums. The results of this level of attention are striking.”

Her true passion is working with English Language Learners and tailoring lessons to their needs. She collaborates with ELL teachers and the community to speak with non-native English-speaking parents using whatever means necessary — from translators and online forums to in-person discussions. And these methods have been proven effective, as shown by her students’ incredible progress, particularly in reading. Last year, 75% of Wytovich’s students started the year below grade level but within just half a year, nearly all met the grade level benchmark.

Wytovich makes it her priority to ensure that each student receives the appropriate attention needed to succeed in the classroom. And parents notice: she is a sought-after teacher.

“Ms. Wytovich is a shining example of what every teacher strives to be,” said Prince William County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Steven Walts. “She makes learning accessible and exciting for every student and contributes to the success of every colleague. When we speak of Providing a World Class Education, it is teachers like Ms. Wytovich who make it possible.”  

For the past nine years, Wytovich has taught third grade but she is currently a second grade teacher. She often serves as a mentor and has a reputation for being willing to help. Her door is always open and she takes the initiative no matter how busy she is. Wytovich always has a smile on her face and has earned the nickname “Zen” from colleagues for being able to maintain calm even during the most hectic and challenging of times.

As a math team leader, she piloted a co-teaching model with a Title I math specialist and also serves on Buckland’s Teacher Leadership Team as the second grade team leader. Her efforts contributed significantly to Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores for third grade, increasing from 66 to 81 percent in math and from 79 to 85 percent in reading.

Wytovich is one of up to 40 recipients across the country this school year who will be receiving the Milken Educator Award and the only one in Virginia. Virginia joined the program in 1999 and Wytovich is the 40th educator to receive the honor in the state.

Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Award recognizes exemplary elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education. The award comes with an unrestricted financial prize of $25,000 and alternates yearly between elementary and secondary educators. Milken Awards are sourced through each participating state department of education, which appoints an independent blue ribbon committee to confidentially review candidates for recommendation to MFF.

Along with the recognition typically bestowed to recipients, Wytovich now belongs to a network of more than 2,600 K–12 teachers, principals and specialists from around the country. 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, watch the reaction videos at www.youtube.com/milkenaward and find us on http://instagram.com/milkenfamilyfdn.

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.

Ana Beatriz Cholo
Media Relations Manager
310-570-4773 (Office) 312-927-4845 (Cell)