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Surprise! Kelly Maranchuck of BASIS Washington, D.C., Receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award

With dual roles as a senior curriculum coordinator and instructional coach, Maranchuck helps create a dynamic learning environment for all

November 6, 2023

Santa Monica, Calif. — Kelly Maranchuck is known for helping students and colleagues alike exceed expectations at BASIS Washington, D.C., yet today's assembly went well beyond her wildest dreams! Maranchuck, senior curriculum coordinator and instructional coach for grades 5-12, watched in amazement as a visit from State Superintendent of Education Dr. Christina Grant turned into a celebration for her. Before cheering students, colleagues, dignitaries and media, Maranchuck became a 2023 Washington, D.C., Milken Educator Award recipient – the sole D.C. educator to be honored this season.  

State Superintendent Dr. Grant joined Milken Family Foundation President and Co-Founder Mike Milken to present the prestigious Award to Maranchuck for her excellence and leadership in the teaching profession. Bestowed by the Milken Family Foundation, the Milken Educator Award also comes with a $25,000 cash prize that recipients can use however they choose.

"A great education starts with great educators, and Kelly Maranchuck helps lead the way for teachers and students at BASIS Washington, D.C. Her dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to high expectations inspire those same values in others," said Mike Milken. "Kelly represents the outstanding educators our nation needs to ensure a bright future for the next generation. Congratulations."

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, empowering recipients to "Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate" the K-12 profession and inspiring young, capable people to pursue teaching as a career.

"Excellent educators like Kelly Maranchuck challenge students with rigorous lessons so they not only master grade-level content but are well prepared to take on any challenges in the next grade," said State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant. "Ms. Maranchuck also helps new and struggling teachers develop the skills they need to be effective in the classroom so more students can benefit from high-quality instruction. Thank you, Kelly and congratulations on receiving the Milken Educator Award for the District of Columbia."   

The Milken Educator Award is not a lifetime achievement honor. 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 Kelly Maranchuck

Broadening Expertise and Impact from Classroom Teacher to School Leader: Kelly Maranchuck is a natural educator who has grown from a classroom teacher to a school leader. As a senior curriculum coordinator and instructional coach at BASIS Washington, D.C., she draws on the tenets that made her classroom consistently successful: high expectations; rigorous, rich curriculum; and a dynamic, engaging environment for everyone to excel. In addition to supporting teachers in the classroom, Maranchuck coordinates the schoolwide testing schedule, provides classroom coverage, and uses data to drive instruction as an integral member of the school leadership team.

Track Record of Results: Maranchuck started at BASIS Washington, D.C., as a fifth grade English teacher in 2021 and added the role of English department chair in 2022. Her classroom was a hub of intellectual rigor, where students unpacked complex concepts in grammar, text and characterization. Maranchuck helped students master above-grade-level content by relating skills and knowledge to everyday life. As a result of her efforts, her fifth graders exceeded expectations on baseline school assessments in English language arts and remained well-prepared for success in future grades. Their academic growth also translated to improvement in their PARCC reading scores by 10% from 2021-22 to 2022-23. Maranchuck's classroom became a model for observation by other teachers in the school, and today she works across the school to replicate these same types of results. 

Uniting School Community: For Maranchuck, building academic talent and relationships go hand in hand. An enthusiastic supporter of creating community, she maintains close ties with students, colleagues and families. Her schoolwide spelling bee unites students around the excitement of learning, leading some to advance to citywide spelling bee events. 

Education: Maranchuck received a Bachelor of Arts in history from American University in 2016 and a Master of Fine Arts in secondary education and teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education in 2019.

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 in June 2024, 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)

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. 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