Madison teacher receives national educator award

Lincoln Elementary School teacher awarded $25,000 Milken Educator Award
Madison teacher receives national educator award

A Madison elementary school teacher was announced as the state’s recipient of the 2014 Milken Educator Award Wednesday.

Josie Guiney Igielski, a fourth-grade teacher and motivating force behind Lincoln Elementary School’s outdoor learning space, was recognized at a school assembly, according to a release. The award includes $25,000 cash and is one of up to 40 that will be given by the Milken Family Foundation nationwide.

“Josie’s passion for getting it right for her students and incorporating hands-on and outdoor learning into the school day are such valuable assets to students and the community,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said in the release. “She exemplifies what it means to go beyond the expected. Josie is among the top education leaders in our state and nation and a deserving recipient of the Milken Educator Award.”

Guiney Igielski’s focus on sustainability turned a lot next to Lincoln Elementary School into an outdoor learning environment for students that attracts parents and neighbors as well, officials said. She also focuses on incorporating the outdoors into lessons and is working with other educators to develop a curriculum for outdoor learning.

Guiney Igielski was selected as a Milken Educator by a blue-ribbon panel and the Milken Family Foundation, according to the release. Recipients are selected on the basis of multiple criteria, including exceptional educational talent shown through effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school, exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession, long-range potential for professional policy leadership, and engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

“We’ve been presenting these awards for almost 30 years because we believe — and the research proves it — that educators represent the most important school-based factor in raising student achievement,” said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. “The very public nature of each surprise notification, and the excitement as students see their teacher celebrated as an inspiring role model, influences young people to consider teaching as a worthy career option.”

This is the 15th year the foundation has presented an educator award in Wisconsin, according to the release. Since the program started, it has awarded more than $65 million to more than 2,600 educators.

The Milken Educator Awards were created to recognize and reward the highest-caliber professionals in schools, according to the release. The Milken Educator Awards program has been dubbed the Oscars of Teaching by Teacher Magazine, and is the largest educator awards program in the nation.