For Immediate Release - October 28, 2010

Springfield Fifth Grade Teacher Surprised with 2010 Milken Award

Honored for His Use of Technology, Innovation in the Classroom

SPRINGFIELD-An unsuspecting fifth grade teacher was surprised with a 2010 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award and check for $25,000 during an assembly at his Springfield school on Thursday.

Roni Gold, who has been a teacher for eight years and has taught fifth grade at the Rebecca M. Johnson School in Springfield for two years, is the state's 38th Milken Award winner. He is one of dozens of recipients nationwide this year, joining more than 2,400 other national educators who have received the award. Known as the "Oscars of Teaching," the Milken awards were established to provide public recognition and individual rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary teachers, principals, and specialists who are furthering excellence in education.

Gold's award was presented by Massachusetts Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, and Dr. Thomas Boysen, a Board member of the Milken Family Foundation.

"Roni is the type of passionate and committed teacher we want to see in every classroom in the Commonwealth," said Governor Deval Patrick. "His dedication to teaching is an inspiration. Teachers like Roni make a difference in the lives of children every day and are the main reason for our great success as a Commonwealth."

"Congratulations to Roni, his students, and his school for this great honor," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray. "A high quality education is the key to a successful future for our students and a high quality teacher is the key to their education."

"One of the best parts of my job is going into schools and meeting with teachers who really motivate their students to learn, and Roni is most definitely one of those teachers," said Commissioner Chester. "A great educator is someone who can inspire even the most reticent student to achieve at high levels. Roni is one of those teachers and we are lucky to have him."

In nominating him for the award, Gold's colleagues noted that he finds unique ways to use technology in his classroom - including setting his students up with e-mail accounts, connecting them with pen pals in other states and using individual computers - and develops "working relationships" with each of his students. He participates in after school games and events that involve his students, and meets with parents whenever necessary.

"I feel that our school has been blessed to have a teacher like Mr. Gold," wrote Darlene Arthur, a teacher at the Johnson School. "He makes learning fun, and is the teacher I always wished that I had had."

"We are lucky in Massachusetts to have so many outstanding teachers," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "Roni works every day to motivate and support students and I congratulate him on this accomplishment."

Recipients each receive a check for $25,000, a trip to Los Angeles for a conference and awards ceremony, and membership in the network of previous Milken winners.

Massachusetts' recipients are selected by an independent statewide Blue Ribbon panel of principals, teachers and other educators. Predetermined criteria for the award include exceptional educational talent and promise, skill in developing innovative and creative curricula and programs, commitment to professional development, and ability to instill self-confidence in students.

For more information on the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards program, visit the Foundation's website at www.mff.org.


Information provided by the Executive Office of Education. Created October 28, 2010