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Samantha Neill Named 2021 Lowell Milken Center Fellow


June 1, 2021

FORT SCOTT, KS — The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas, an international educational non-profit, has awarded its prestigious Fellowship to Communication Arts and Journalism teacher, Samantha Neill, of Buhler High School in Buhler, Kansas. Samantha Neill will arrive in Fort Scott on June 20th for a week of collaboration with LMC staff. 

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 around the world, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history. 

Samantha Neill has taught English Language Arts and journalism at Buhler High School in Buhler USD 313 for the past 18 years. Although she is a long-time ELA teacher, she recently took a leap of faith and began teaching journalism and photography. She is working to create opportunities that empower students to use skills they have learned in real-life situations and create connections with influential adults and businesses in their communities. More than anything, Samantha believes teachers must reach the whole child, both socially and emotionally, rather than just teaching content. This belief inspired her to start the BHS Clothing Closet and BHS Food Bank to help meet clothing, food, and toiletry needs of students at her school. 

In 2018, Samantha was named Kansas Teacher of the Year. The Kansas Teacher of the Year Award recognizes and utilizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms across the state of Kansas. Since then, she has led district-wide professional development about trauma-informed schools and classrooms. She also served as a member of the Kansas Continuous Learning Task Force, which created guidance for 300 local school districts as the state of Kansas transitioned to remote learning due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Outside of school, she is a wife and a mom to three boys, an avid baseball mom, a member of the Buhler Community Foundation, and a novice photographer. She is a foster-to-adopt mom who advocates for foster care and adoption within her community. 

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "For over a decade, our Fellows have been the cream of the crop, and Sam Neil fits that category. As someone who really understands Project Based Learning, Sam's work stands out. She has been dynamic in the Teacher of the Year program." 

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. 

To schedule interviews or for more information, please contact: 

Norm Conard
Executive Director
Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes
1 South Main
Fort Scott, KS 66701
Phone: (620) 223-1312
nconard@lowellmilkencenter.org
www.lowellmilkencenter.org 

2021 Lowell Milken Center Fellow  
Name: Samantha Neill
Subject: High School Communication Arts and Journalism
School: Buhler High School
611 N. Main St.
Buhler, KS 67522         
Phone: (620) 543-2255
Cell: (620) 694-0966
Email: sneill@usd313.org