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2018 Lowell Milken Center Fellows Announced

June 10, 2018

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 2018. LMC is pleased to announce the six Fellows attending the first week of special programming at the facility, starting on June 17, 2018.

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. LMC 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 six educators will begin a week of collaboration with LMC staff, starting June 17, 2018:

Emily Caldarelli

Emily Caldarelli

School: Paul Cuffee Elementary School

Subject: Fourth Grade Teacher

City: Providence, Rhode Island

Emily Caldarelli is the 2016 Rhode Island Milken Educator. She is known for the exceptional love and care she gives to each of her students. Emily encourages her fourth graders to be themselves and to act with dignity and respect. She is thoughtful, caring and sensitive to what her students are experiencing. Students who used to feel embarrassed about wearing glasses now celebrate their specs at the monthly "glasses club" meeting that Emily coordinates. Students are encouraged to celebrate their differences and honor each other's way of learning, so they can each reach their full potential.

Emily has been a member of several committees such as the School Improvement Team, Writing Curriculum, and this year she developed and led a mentor program for new teachers at her school. Emily is passionate about closing the achievement gap among minority students. She was sponsored to be part of a critical feedback group through the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity. She was also appointed to be on a committee through the RI Department of Education, and the focus of their work is proficiency-based learning.

Emily is the kind of teacher that receives four-page letters from past students who are in high school and need advice. She's the teacher who goes to a student's recital on the weekend, or a basketball game, or a play when she gets invited. Emily is a special teacher that students remember with love and appreciation for all that she has done for them.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Emily Calderelli's innovative implementation of social studies curriculum is what we are looking for as we seek the best teachers." 

James Flynn

James Flynn

School: Orville H. Platt High School

Subject: Social Studies

City: Meriden, Connecticut

James Flynn is a 2009 Milken Educator and the Social Studies Department Leader at Orville H. Platt High School in Meriden, CT.  He has been teaching for 15 years and has been the department leader for the past four years. James has been involved on district teams to advance student centered learning through instruction and student voice and choice. He has also worked on the district team to create strategies for ninth grade transitional students. James has a passion for history and civics and is a life-long learner, constantly looking to grow as a leader, educator and person. During his career, he has taught over 1,600 students. He is also a proud husband and father.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "James makes history come alive for his students through his own love of history. He also makes civics very personal to students by giving them opportunities for real-life involvement in government. His energy, passion and enthusiasm are contagious and fill his students with the desire to learn more."


Elisa Guerra

School: Colegio Valle de Filadelfia

Subject: Reading and Social Studies

City: Aguascalientes, México

Elisa Guerra was named "Best Educator in Latin America and the Caribbean" by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in 2015 and was a top finalist for the Global Teacher Prize in 2015 and 2016. When she could not find a school in her hometown of Aguascalientes, Mexico that was challenging and stimulating enough for her own children, she founded Colegio Valle de Filadelfia. Her model has been escalated and there are now 10 campuses in four countries. All over Latin America, Elisa has worked with both privileged and underprivileged children and has lectured in English and Spanish around the world.

Elisa also trains teachers online and has taught more than 2000 educators from 56 countries. She runs the Latin American chapter of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, an international NGO that teaches parents how to help their brain injured children. Elisa has authored 26 books and textbooks for students and teachers, published by Pearson Education and Routledge. At her school in Aguascalientes, Elisa teaches early reading, global citizenship, social studies and technology. She is passionate about early education and special needs children. Al Jazeera featured Elisa in a 2017 documentary titled "Mexico: The Power of Early Education" for the series "Rebel Education," with the aim being to showcase the most innovative education initiatives from around the world.

According to LMC Executive Director Norm Conard, "Elisa is the kind of international educator we seek, with a constant desire to change the world through teaching. Her recognition makes a great statement."


Stephanie Michelle Johnson

School: HB Rhame Jr. Elementary

Subject: Second Grade Teacher

City: Columbia, South Carolina

Stephanie Johnson is an Elementary and National Board Certified Teacher and a 2017 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence recipient who has a strong drive for education policy. She obtained a Masters in Executive Leadership from Gardner-Webb University, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from the University of South Carolina. 

Johnson's practice is centered on culturally relevant approaches that support equity and excellence for all students. Through her professional development as a NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow in 2017, she added a global dimension to her classroom practice. She is a fervent believer in partnering with parents and the community to see academic achievement. Additionally, she is an advocacy and mentoring champion for her peers, sharing the bountiful blessing that she has accrued from participating in national training programs like the Lowell Milken Center Fellowship.

Stephanie shares, "I enjoy being an educator because it encompasses the things I truly enjoy—working with students, parents, teachers, educator support professionals, communities; and most importantly being an advocate for education." 

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Stephanie is a dynamic, caring educator. As a second-grade teacher she has shown valuable lessons for her students."

Jordan McGaughey

Jordan McGaughey

School: Seckman High School

Subject: Social Studies

City: Eureka, Missouri

Jordan McGaughey is a 2017 Milken Educator who is a mentor to many and admired for his teaching expertise. Jordan has been an educator and Instructional Support Specialist for the Fox C-6 School District, and most recently was hired to be the new Coordinator of K-12 Social Studies for the Rockwood School District in St. Louis, Missouri.

McGaughey's students produce strong results and consistently score higher than district, state and national averages. As a leader of professional development, McGaughey has presented at numerous building and district in-service events and has presented at the state level for the Missouri Council for Social Studies. According to colleagues and students, Jordan has a reputation for being caring, passionate, engaging and giving of his time. He is a lifelong learner and continually strives to become a better teacher. Consequently, students receive many outstanding life lessons because they know that Mr. McGaughey understands their lives and problems and will give great advice. 

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard calls Jordan "the kind of enthusiastic young teacher that makes our Fellows program so esteemed. We love innovative and creative educators, and look forward to outstanding project-based learning."


Argine Safari

School: Pascack Valley High School

Subject: Music

City: Hillsdale, New Jersey

Argine Safari is passionate about transforming the lives of her students through the power of music. Argine's multilingual, multicultural background and rich personal experiences as a refugee led her to motivate students to appreciate the value of hard work and to compete and collaborate as ethical and responsible global citizens.

Her passion, expertise and innovative ideas have raised the awareness of the arts within her district and nationally. Thirteen years ago, she came to Pascack Valley High School where she developed a nationally recognized vocal program, establishing new vocal groups as well as inter-disciplinary district courses, and founding and advising the Tri-M Music Honor Society chapters in both district schools. Under Argine's direction, Pascack Valley choirs earned top awards and accolades, traveling nationally from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, CA and internationally to Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. More importantly, Argine's students learn the value of true citizenship through their volunteer community work and by raising thousands of dollars for numerous charities.

Prior to Pascack Valley, Argine was the conductor at the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus. In 2013, Argine co-founded a non-profit youth theater arts company, Stage Scene and Song Performing Arts (3sPA), and has since been serving as artistic director. 3sPA transforms, enlightens and empowers its participants, fostering mutual respect for peers, a tremendous sense of community and camaraderie, and an appreciation for contribution. 

Argine is the 2010 Princeton University Distinguished Scholar, 2017 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, the 2017 Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer, NEA Foundation 2018 Teaching Excellence Award recipient, NJEA 2018 Arts Educator of the Year, and 2019 Fulbright Distinguished Scholar. Currently, Mrs. Safari is pursuing her PhD in Learning, Instruction and Innovation from Walden University.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Argine is one of the most distinguished Fellows in our years of LMC Fellowships. We value her dynamic and passionate work."

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.

Media Contacts:
Norm Conard, LMC Executive Director: (620) 223-1312,
Megan Felt, LMC Program Director: (620) 223-1312,