2022-23 Milken Educators

Photo 20 of 36 MO Vanessa Thomson

Second grade teacher, Chapel Hill Elementary School | Gladstone, MO

Vanessa Thomson's second graders at Chapel Hill Elementary couldn't wait to throw their arms around their teacher when she returned to the classroom after her surprise Milken Educator Award notification on January 19, 2023. We presented Vanessa with Missouri's 2022-23 Milken Award and $25,000 in an assembly packed with students, staff, media and dignitaries, including Missouri Commissioner of Education Dr. Margie Vandeven. How did Vanessa feel when she heard MEA Vice President Stephanie Bishop name her the first ever Milken Award recipient from North Kansas City Schools? "Definitely shocked!" she told us after the event.

In addition to academics, Vanessa inspires her students to embrace community service. The class performs random acts of kindness around the school each spring, has raised funds for a local animal shelter, and one child received local news coverage for a necktie drive he organized to support homeless people. Vanessa hopes her efforts build lifelong habits: "I think it's important to teach kids that they can make an impact on the world by doing small things to help other people."


All photos should be credited to "Milken Family Foundation" unless otherwise noted.

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2023 Milken Educator group
AL Bryan Cutter
AZ Megan Brown
AR Emily Howard
CO Tiffany Miera
CT Elaine Hill
HI Esther Kwon
ID Anna Attebury
IN Angela Fowler
IN Brittany Tinkler
KS Kristine Becker
LA Dereka Duncan
KY Charlotte Buskill
LA Corrie Campbell
LA Elise Frederic
ME Sarah Collins
MD Dion Jones
MA Leigh Beson
MS Tyler Shows
MO Vanessa Thomson
NE Lisa Moody
NV Liz Barnum
NV Jason Murray
NV Rejily Soriano
NJ Shaina Brenner
NM Christopher Nunez
NY Caitlin Garvey
NC Jessica Barnette
RI Emily Rendine
SD Abby Turbak
TN Alexa Guynes
TX Jenna Dean
TX Diana Lopez
VA Pamela Stepko
WV Andrea Trio
WY Jessica Kavitz