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Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award

Milken Family Foundation logoThe Milken Family Foundation was established in 1982. Since then, the Foundation has worked with more than 1,000 organizations in countless ways to share its purpose of discovering inventive ways of helping people help themselves and those around them to lead productive and satisfying lives.

Recipients of the award are selected by an independent blue-ribbon committee appointed by each state’s department of education. Predetermined criteria for the award include exceptional educational talent and promise; distinguished achievement in developing innovative educational curricula, programs and/or teaching methods; outstanding ability to instill in students character and self-confidence, and commitment to professional development.

SOURCE: Milken Family Foundation

Student Success Translates Into a $25,000 Milken Educator Award 
for Teacher Julie RowellJulie Rowell Milken Winner 2019

Nothing is more important to Julie Rowell than removing barriers and expanding opportunities for students in Gresham-Barlow school district and specifically at Gresham High School. Rowell's English Language Learner classes engage students who typically have only two to three years of English, propelling them via group learning projects and individualized strategies that have them swiftly engaged in conversations. Her students regularly advance more than a year per grade, and Rowell helps put them on a pathway to higher education by deploying the student-centric Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) system. A fluent Spanish speaker and dedicated bilingualist who goes the extra mile for struggling students, Rowell also inspires learners with her high expectations and aspirational message of inclusiveness.

In celebration of Rowell’s teaching, the Milken Family Foundation honored her with a Milken Educator Award at a surprise school assembly this morning. Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill presented the award. This national recognition comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. Rowell is the only 2019-20 Milken Educator Award winner from Oregon this year, and is among up to 40 honorees from across the country.

"A teacher like Julie Rowell knows how to really connect with students and make an extraordinary impact," said Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher. “Her dedication, commitment and creative approach exemplify the inspirational leadership we seek in our Milken Educators.”

“Julie truly models the instruction and coaching we know will make a difference for our students,” said Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill. “Our state is strengthened by cultural diversity and language learning, and every day in the classroom Julie is at the forefront of this effort.”

Rowell also mentors the school district's secondary English Language Learner teachers to help advance their effectiveness in the classroom. She shares videos of her teaching methods with interested colleagues and utilizes video collaboration and other tools to increase student engagement.

“Julie is a stand-out educator who uses highly engaging instructional strategies to ensure English Language Learners achieve at high levels,” said Superintendent Dr. A. Katrise Perera. “Her willingness to share her expertise with colleagues has had a dramatic impact on our students.”


The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching,” has been opening minds and shaping futures for more than 30 years. The initiative not only aims to reward great teachers, but to celebrate, elevate and activate those innovators in the classroom who are guiding America’s next generation of leaders. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.

Julie Rowell in the News

Previous Oregon Winners

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