Press Releases

2018 2017 2016 2015

2017 Lowell Milken Center Fellows Announced

May 25, 2017

FORT SCOTT, Kan., – The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas, an international educational non-profit, has awarded its prestigious Fellowship to twelve outstanding individuals for 2017. LMC is pleased to announce the seven Fellows attending the first week of special programming at the facility, starting on June 18, 2017.

The LMC Fellowship is awarded on the basis of merit to educators who have distinguished themselves in teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning or who have the potential for this distinction. The Center selects exemplary teachers from across America and Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.

While in Fort Scott, LMC Fellows gain knowledge, educational resources and ongoing support to enhance their classrooms and help students cultivate a passion for learning by creating projects that initiate positive change. Fellows emerge prepared to develop Unsung Heroes projects with their students as they apply and evaluate the stories of role models who have changed the world throughout history.

These seven educators will begin a week of collaboration with LMC staff, starting June 18, 2017:

kendra borden

Kendra Borden

School:  Charles E. Shea High School

Subject:  English/Language Arts

City:  Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Kendra Borden left a 14-year career in the insurance business to become an English teacher at Samuel Slater Junior High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Her experience in business taught her the value of "making connections," and helped her develop the collaborative approach that has translated into success in the classroom. Her use of lively discussions, personalized learning, and a culture of continuous feedback and improvement have had a profound impact on student learning. During her seventh year at Samuel Slater, Borden’s students made a 47-point gain in scaled reading scores, and school wide writing scores increased by 14% during Borden’s two-year leadership with the school’s writing curriculum committee.

In October of 2015, in recognition of her many achievements, Kendra was given the honor of receiving the 2015 Milken Educator Award. She has authored curriculum and presentations that have had an impact on student learning throughout the district and state. She has also served as Credit Recovery Coordinator for her school, as the facilitator of the positive intervention and support team, as a member of the building leadership and curriculum writing teams and as a writing teacher for the College Crusade Saturday Academy. Kendra's current teaching position is as the 9th grade ELA teacher at Charles E. Shea High School in Pawtucket.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Kendra is the kind of dynamic Fellow we seek, invested in children, creative and innovative."


eric crouch

Eric Crouch

School:  Double Churches Elementary School

Subject:  5th Grade

City:  Columbus, Georgia

Eric Crouch began his teaching career as a first grade teacher at Double Churches Elementary School in Columbus, Georgia. During his five years in first grade, Eric had an extremely positive effect on the progress of his high-need, mostly military-family students, with 100% of them meeting or exceeding goals in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. His innovative ways of encouraging students to meet their educational goals and the celebrations of their accomplishments resulted in his first graders reading more than 35 million words and checking out nearly 50,000 books. Eric's success continued in 2016 when he became a 5th grade teacher at Double Churches Elementary and creatively found ways to prepare his students to meet the rigor of state standards, helping 12 of his 13 below-tier students to reach those standards.

In November of 2016, in recognition of his many achievements, Eric was given the honor of receiving the 2016 Milken Educator Award. Along with his outstanding work in the classroom, Eric has been a strong advocate for technology in the classroom, using it both for learning and to build bridges with families. In an effort to provide adequate technology for his students, he funded more than 50 projects through and received donations from Target, News Corp, and ESPN, enabling his classrooms to have photographic equipment, standing desks, iPads, and a 3-D printer. Eric has led workshops for teachers in the Muscogee County School District, has taught "Technology in the Classroom" as a guest instructor at Columbus State University, is a member of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's Teacher Advisory Committee, and is a member of Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods' Teacher Advisory Panel.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Eric is full of enthusiasm, energy and dedication. He fits the mold of a Lowell Milken Center Fellow. He is one of the finest young teachers in America."


angela harvala

Angela Harvala

School:  Princeton Intermediate School

Subject:  5th Grade

City:  Princeton, Minnesota

Angela Harvala is a self-described "data geek" due to her commitment to individualizing her students' education by gathering information about each of them, knowing their learning preferences, and learning about their home lives. While at Princeton Intermediate, she helped develop a “Catch-up Club” where students could get assistance with completing assignments on time. She also has led a girls' iEmpower group after school. Angela is known for the uncommon bond she creates with her students, encouraging them to believe in themselves and realize they can create their own futures.

In October of 2014, in recognition of her many achievements, Angela was given the honor of receiving the 2014 Milken Educator Award. Among her many accomplishments, Harvala has been active on her school's Tiger Pride Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports team, leading her students to produce a video that won the award for "Best Picture" from the National Association for Positive Behavioral Supports. She has also served as her grade level coordinator and a committee member for curriculum, district alignment, and the science vertical team.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Angela demonstrates the highest standards of teaching in her classroom. Her work in video production fits our mode for project-based learning. We look forward to working with this dynamic educator."


anna morris

Anna Morris

School:  Oak Grove Lower Elementary

Subject:  2nd Grade

City:  Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Anna Morris, a graduate of William Carey University, has worked for 11 years at Oak Grove Lower Elementary School, where she teaches English and language arts. She also teaches children with special needs. She was distinguished by her university as the Outstanding Elementary Educator of the year and a J.V. McCrory Creative Writing Award scholar. She was also the recipient of the Jenkins-Chastain Citizenship Award, the highest honor given by the university. In addition, Anna obtained a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification from the TEFL International Mediterrani Escola in Barcelona, Spain.

Morris was named Mississippi's Teacher of the Year for 2015-16, as well as the Fourth Congressional District Teacher of the Year. As an educator, Anna is passionate about project-based learning within "Maker's Culture" and student centered designs. She is her school's Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports Committee Coach and frequently collaborates with fellow educators and designs events for all students that celebrate achievement. As a speaker at William Carey University's Pedagogical Conference, she shared her research on positive classroom culture and curriculum. She also served as district liaison in designing and implementing the Performance Based Pay Initiative as part of a state pilot. Anna has worked with children in eight different countries and five continents. These educational experiences shaped her belief that we are global citizens with unique experiences, diverse in our passions, but equal in dignity. She considers her role as a teacher, researcher, and educator a serious one, but believes that teaching is best accomplished with enthusiasm and joy. Anna believes that our greatest accomplishments as educators will always come from the heart, from tenacity, and from the belief that every child can be a learner.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Anna has a history of excellence in education. We look for Fellows who have and will make a difference in the world. Anna fits the definition of a Lowell Milken Center Fellow."


josh parker

Josh Parker

School:  Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Subject:  Instructional Coach - ELA

City:  Washington, D.C. 

Josh Parker was the 2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year. He serves the students and teachers of Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School (Washington, D.C. Public Schools) as an Instructional Coach. Josh holds multiple degrees, including a Master's in Leadership in Teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University. He was also named a Horace Mann Awardee by the NEA Foundation. He completed a fellowship to Brazil as a Pearson Global Fellow in 2013. Mr. Parker is the first African-American male educator from Baltimore County to win the state award and keeps a blog on education and society.

Josh is a career changer, having started off as a sports producer for Fox 45 of Baltimore before beginning his career in education. In the decade that followed, Mr. Parker has held various leadership positions from K-12 to higher education. As an Instructional Coach, he works with teachers and the instructional leadership team to improve the design and implementation of High School Language Arts instruction. The work that he does is aimed at helping teachers in one of several pedagogical service areas including data analysis, differentiation, and instructional alignment. Through this shoulder-to-shoulder work with the teachers in his department, he is able to partner with teachers to improve student outcomes. As Josh works with teachers to improve their delivery of instruction, student achievement increases, thus reducing gaps in performance between identified subgroups.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Josh is one of America's leading educators. We are proud to host teachers who make a difference in the world. His vast expertise make him an ideal Lowell Milken Center Fellow."


allison riddle

Allison Riddle

School District:  Davis School District

Subject:  Elementary Mentor Supervisor

City:  Farmington, Utah

Allison Riddle was an elementary educator in Northern Utah for the past 29 years. She is currently the Elementary Mentor Supervisor for Davis School District. Allison was the 2014 Utah Teacher of the Year, and she currently represents Utah's teachers as a member of Governor Herbert's Excellence Education Commission. Allison has been a full time mentor for her district; she also created a mentor program at her school, as a classroom teacher, that has been highlighted on the USDE Teach to Lead® website. In addition to many traditional provisional educators, Allison has mentored teachers in Utah’s French, Spanish and Chinese Dual Immersion schools as well as Korean and German student teaching programs. Allison is a recipient of the 2015 California Casualty Academic Award for Teaching Excellence and the 2015 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence. She went to Peru as part of the NEA Foundation Global Fellowship where she studied schools in suburban areas.

Allison is a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), and serves as the Communications Officer for the Utah State Teachers of the Year (UTSTOY) chapter. Allison is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and she has been a consultant for Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks since 2005. Allison conducts mathematics workshops and Family Math Nights for schools, districts, community centers and universities across the country. Allison is a member of the University of Phoenix SLC campus Advisory Committee, and she is currently researching Teacher Leadership with Weber State University.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Allison is a teacher who makes a difference in her classroom, her community, her state and her country. She excels in enhancing performance from students in her school. Her innovative work is something we are excited to learn more about."


michael soskil

Michael Soskil

School:  Wallenpaupack Area School District

Subject:  3rd-5th Grade Science Teacher

City:  Hawley, Pennsylvania

Michael Soskil is an expert in STEM education, global collaboration, and technology integration, who has developed and presented numerous professional learning sessions for K-12 teachers, educational media outlets, and social innovators from around the world. Most recently, he was announced as the 2017 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. He was also the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching recipient from Pennsylvania, one of the 2015 Global Teacher Prize Top 50, a Skype Master Teacher, and a Microsoft Innovative Educator. In the summer of 2016, Michael was one of 10 finalists for Global Teacher of the Year and traveled to Dubai for the award ceremony.

In recent years, Michael Soskil and his students have connected via multimedia technology with more than 70 different countries, the International Space Station and Antarctica. Social innovators, national park rangers and scientists share their passions and help to supplement classroom learning; these "virtual field trips" involve real-time questions and often lead students to want to delve deeper and "do more," Michael said. His students also set up a "cultural exchange," sharing songs and stories with the Kenyan students and even learning some Swahili. In addition, his students connected with children in Kansas and Greece to raise more than $12,000 for water filters to protect 3,000 residents against disease in Nairobi's Kibera slum.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Michael has been recognized as much as any present teacher in America. His accomplishments will open doors at the Fellowship, just as the Fellowship will open doors for him. He is a master of the classroom."

About Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes
Established in 2007, the Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes works to transform classrooms and communities through student-driven projects that discover Unsung Heroes from history and teach the power of one to create positive change. To date, LMC has reached over 1,300,000 students and 8,500 schools in all 50 states, with growing global reach. Learn more about LMC at and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sabrina Skacan
Media Relations Manager
310-570-4773 Office 310-989-5875 Cell