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Leah Lawrence wins Milken Family Foundation Award

Leah hugs Milken repHistory was made today at Hardin Middle School as we proudly announce Leah Lawrence, our outstanding seventh-grade English Language Arts teacher, as the FIRST Milken Educator Award recipient in the City of St. Charles School District since the Awards' inception in 1987! 
Leah's unwavering dedication to education, her leadership, and her mentorship have left an indelible mark on our school community. Today, she received a well-deserved honor that left her completely shocked – the prestigious Milken Educator Award, along with a $25,000 cash prize to use as she sees fit. 
Bestowed by the Milken Family Foundation, this award recognizes exceptional K-12 educators across the nation for their excellence and leadership in the field of education. It was an unforgettable moment as Milken Educator Awards Vice President Stephanie Bishop and Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven surprised Leah with this incredible honor during what was initially thought to be a routine all-school assembly.
"Leah Lawrence's adaptability in the classroom is unmatched," stated Stephanie Bishop. "Her ever-evolving variety of instructional strategies ensures high-quality, engaging education tailored to meet each student's needs. We are confident that her involvement in the Milken Educator Network will continue to nurture her already thriving growth mindset."
Leah is among the up to 75 educators nationwide who will be celebrated in 2023-24 as part of the Milken Family Foundation's Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator. Often dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching," this initiative will award $75 million in individual financial prizes, furthering a total investment of over $144 million in the Milken Educator Award national network. This empowers educators to "Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate" the K-12 profession, inspiring the next generation of teachers.
Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven expressed her excitement, saying, "We are thrilled to have the Milken Family Foundation recognize one of Missouri's exceptional teachers with this award. Leah's dedication to using creativity and data to drive instruction and help students succeed is truly commendable."
The Milken Educator Award is not a lifetime achievement honor. Recipients like Leah Lawrence are selected in their early to mid-career, recognizing their remarkable achievements and the promise of even greater accomplishments with the support and opportunities this award provides. 
Join us in congratulating Leah Lawrence for this incredible achievement! She is a shining example of the dedication and passion that defines our teaching community.