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2017-18 Milken Educators

Photo 42 of 44 Virginia Ryan James

RYAN JAMES (VA '17)

Social studies teacher Ryan James knew something special was happening at Lucille M. Brown Middle School in Richmond: Why else would Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe be in the gym, along with dozens of other visiting dignitaries? But Ryan had no idea that the assembly had actually been planned in his honor. When Lowell Milken named Ryan Virginia's 2017-18 Milken Educator, the teacher's face registered shock, disbelief, and finally gratitude and joy. As he addressed the assembly with tears rolling freely down his cheeks, Ryan thanked both his mother (who works in professional development for the district and was at the assembly) and his late grandfather. "When I look at my male role models, he was it—and that's what I try to do," he said.

Ryan's notification on November 15, 2017, brought together two generations of Milken Educators. After the assembly, Ryan realized that veteran Milken Educator Laura Lay (VA '05), who attended the event, was his ninth-grade World History teacher—AND that he had been at the assembly where Laura got her Milken Award at James River High School more than a decade ago!

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