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High Student Achievement Growth and Exceptional Leadership Add Up to $25,000 for Baton Rouge Milken Educator

Crestworth Elementary third grade math and science teacher Derrick Winn joins national network to "multiply" his impact on the K-12 profession

February 6, 2023

Santa Monica, Calif. — Derrick Winn, a third grade math and science teacher at Crestworth Elementary School in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, is known for captivating young minds with math challenges and tournaments. Yet today Winn was stumped by a new, mind-boggling fact: He is a recipient of the Milken Educator Award, which comes with a cash prize valued at $25,000! Milken Educator Awards Founder Lowell Milken, joined by Louisiana Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley, presented the Award before a school assembly of cheering students, proud colleagues, dignitaries, and media.

"Virtually all successful people can recall at least one outstanding educator who had an impact on their lives – that caring and compassionate mentor who believed in them, guided them, and inspired them to dream big. Derrick Winn is that kind of leader," said Lowell Milken. "We commend him for serving as a model of excellence at Crestworth Elementary and in the broader community, and proudly welcome him into the national Milken Educator Network. Congratulations."

In addition to today's festivities, Winn becomes a member of the prestigious Milken Educator Network, a national group of exceptional professionals working to "Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate" the K-12 profession. He is the second Milken Educator to receive the honor for the 2023-24 school year. Christine Bayard of Johnston-Hopkins Elementary School in the Iberia Parish School District was recognized with the Award earlier today, Feb. 6.

"Effective math teachers like Mr. Winn are life-changing for students, especially during these foundational early education years," said Dr. Brumley. "Not only is he helping students grow academically, but he is proving that every kid is a math kid."

Hailed as the "Oscars of Teaching," the Awards will honor up to 75 recipients across the country in 2023-24 as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator. 2023-24 will reach $75 million in individual financial prizes spanning the length of the initiative and more than $144 million invested in the Milken Educator Award national network overall.

Winn was completely unaware of his candidacy for the Award. Recipients are sought out while early to mid-career for what they have achieved – and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities afforded by the Award.

More About Derrick Winn

Infusing a Passion for Math and Science in Early Learners: While Derrick Winn's instructional knowledge, data-driven mindset and strategic lesson planning make him an effective educator, his bright personality, unwavering support, and kindness make him an exceptional role model. Winn currently teaches third grade math and science at Crestworth Elementary School, having previously taught the same subjects there in second grade. Winn has greatly contributed to students' ongoing academic and personal growth. Through a partnership with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), Winn is a valued member of a collaborative faculty that implements strong structures of teacher leadership and support. 

Creative Strategies That Promote Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: By homing in on individual learning styles and implementing strategic, engaging classroom practices, Winn was able to help grow second grade students' math proficiency by 77% from the beginning to end of the 2022-23 school year. In second grade, Winn's students tested their knowledge with Kahoot! games, created songs to remember math facts, and participated in Winn's Math Fact Challenge. The challenge was so successful that it was extended throughout K-2, and he created the Math Multiplication Challenge for the upper grades. Winn also led a K-2 March Madness Math-A-Thon, or "March Mathness." Students eagerly competed in a bracket-style tournament, reviewing and building their subtraction, addition and multiplication fluency while emphasizing important social-emotional learning (SEL) skills — making for confident problem-solvers and critical-thinkers at early ages. He has continued these same principles as a third grade teacher. 

Serving as a Model Instructional Leader and Mentor: Outside the classroom, Winn is always eager to lend a helping hand. Whether he is filling in for reading interventions, organizing staff luncheons, or mentoring fellow teachers, Winn's professionalism and team-player mentality boost the morale of those around him. Surrounding community members and organizations have also benefitted from his educational expertise through his work as a mentor to a City Year member and collaborations with Southern University and A&M College, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS), to name a few. 

Empowering Student Empowerment in the School and Community: Winn supports students, colleagues and community members alike in their efforts to grow in all avenues of life. As a member of Crestworth's student government association (SGA) committee, he facilitates grade-level campaigns, candidate debates and schoolwide elections. Winn serves on several committees, including the Art Committee and Black History Committee, as well as co-sponsoring the Boy Scout Club. Strengthening his positive influence on students, Winn has also written a play, musical, and book addressing bullying prevention and student empowerment. On theme days, he has walked through the halls as Dr. Seuss and The Grinch. In the community, Winn has served as a Mega Sports Camp Counselor, a commencement speaker, and is active in his church’s youth ministry. 

Education: Winn earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Louisiana State University and A&M College in 2010 and completed the alternative certification program at Southern University and A&M College in 2015 in the area of grades 1-5. He received a Master of Science in K-12 Studies and Education with an emphasis in standards-based math from Capella University in 2017. 

More about the Milken Educator Award Journey: "The Future Belongs to the Educated"

  • The honorees attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles this June, where they will network with their new colleagues as well as veteran Milken Educators and other education leaders about how to broaden their impact on K-12 education.
  • Honorees receive powerful mentorship opportunities for expanded leadership roles that strengthen education practice and policy. Milken Friends Forever (MFF) pairs a new recipient with a veteran Milken Educator mentor; the Expanding MFF Resource and Explorer Program fosters individual veteran Milken Educator partnerships around a specific topic area; and Activating Milken Educators (AME) promotes group collaboration in and across states to tackle pressing educational needs.
  • Veteran Milken Educators demonstrate a wide range of leadership roles at state, national and international levels.
  • The $25,000 cash Award is unrestricted. Recipients have used the money in diverse ways. Some recipients have spent the funds on their children's or their own continuing education, financing dream field trips, establishing scholarships, and even adopting children. 

Follow the Milken Educator Awards tour and use the #MEA3K and #MilkenAward hashtags on: Facebook (MilkenEducatorAwards) | X (Milken) | YouTube (MilkenAward) | Instagram (MilkenFamilyFdn) | LinkedIn (MilkenFamilyFdn) | TikTok (MilkenAward).

Visit or call the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4772 for more information.

About the Milken Educator Awards
The first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. Created by philanthropist and education visionary Lowell Milken, the Awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. The Milken Family Foundation celebrates more than 40 years of elevating education in America and around the world. Learn more at