2022-23 Milken EducatorsPhoto 20 of 36
VANESSA THOMSON (MO '22)
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.