2023 Common Ground Partnership Group Photo

High school students participating in the Grow Your Own Pathway to Teaching are pictured with thought bubbles that will encourage them throughout their journey to teaching.

Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Milken Educators hosted 40 TeachWV Grow Your Own Pathway to Teaching high school students during the 2023 Milken Educator Network Forum at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston today. Gov. Jim Justice, First Lady Cathy Justice, West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) Member Debra Sullivan, Vice President of Milken Educator Awards Stephanie Bishop, and West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) Deputy Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus were among those who addressed the Forum and offered thoughts on the importance of education in the lives of children. Baby Dog also visited to surprise the students at the event.

The West Virginia Milken Educator Network is one of 13 in the country supporting the next generation of educators and advocating for education issues. There have been 76 Milken Educators awarded in West Virginia since 1990. Andrea Trio, principal of Madison Elementary (Ohio County), is the state’s 2022 Milken Educator. The Milken Family Foundation recognizes excellence and accomplishments in education by rewarding unsuspecting educators with monetary awards, professional development and other opportunities.

2023 Common Ground Partnership Group Photo

Members of the West Virginia Milken Educator Network pose during the 2023 Forum.

The attending TeachWV Grow Your Own students are among the 250 high schoolers statewide participating in the pilot program designed to provide high-level supports to help them earn teacher licensure at reduced cost and time. To date, these students have saved approximately $90,000 in dual credit college tuition during the pilot year.

“We need these incredible high school students to join the ranks of the teaching profession in every way,” said Gov. Justice. “The relationships they are building with our excellent Milken Educators will be extremely helpful as they start their careers and for many years to come. I am so proud that West Virginia is putting a stake in the sand and committing to investing in our student’s futures by helping them get teaching degrees.”

“We must want the world for our students so they can see its grandness and see their own possibilities,” WVBE Member Sullivan told the future educators. “Our students need encouragement to understand that they have the means to build better futures for themselves and for the world. The future of your world will be right there in your classroom. We need you now more than ever to raise up generations of strong West Virginians. As you look into your students’ eyes, you will see their heartaches and dreams that can be unlocked by you. You are not just touching the future you are shaping it. What other profession has such noble claims?”

“We are pleased to see the progress of the Milken Educator Network in West Virginia and the impact it is having on the next generation of educators,” Milken Vice President Bishop said. “Nurturing and inspiring new teachers is central to our vision, and West Virginia is a true representation of that vision and purpose.”

Milken Educators spent time in round-table discussions with the high school students to share their experiences, offer guidance and answer questions about college, career and other aspects of the teaching profession.

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us.

2023 Common Ground Partnership Group Photo

Baby Dog joined Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice at the West Virginia Milken Educator Network Forum.

About the Milken Educator Awards

The first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. Created by 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 MFF.org.

Follow the WVDE on: