Rogers Ranch Principal Tim Thomas Honored with Milken Educator Award
Thomas was asked to hold an assembly where the Arizona Department of Education could announce new initiatives in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) as Rogers Ranch is a STEM school. But, as the assembly kicked off, the purpose quickly changed when Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, took the microphone. Milken interacted with the students discussing leadership, striving for excellence, and the importance of education before announcing the recipient of the coveted Milken Educator Award.
Thomas was selected by the Milken Family Foundation for the positive changes he has made at Rogers Ranch in his three years as principal, as well as at his previous school. He greatly increased student achievement while creating a supportive environment for teachers and students to thrive.
“Where others see challenges, Timothy Thomas sees potential. He knows how to level the playing field and provide educational opportunities for achievement, regardless of the socio-economic conditions of the students or school he serves,” said Lowell Milken. “To turn around one school is quite a feat, but to turn around two schools is exceptional and a roadmap for others to follow. Timothy is that special type of leader all schools deserve.”
The Milken Educator Award, now in its 30th year, is known as the “Oscars of Teaching.” The award comes with additional benefits aside from the public recognition for furthering excellence in education. Not only will Thomas become a member of the National Milken Educator Network; a group of more than 2,700 top principals, teachers and specialists dedicated to strengthening education; he receives a financial prize as displayed at the assembly by several Rogers Ranch students. Five students were brought up each holding a card representing $2,500. A Milken staff member soon joined the group carrying another zero to represent the $25,000 Thomas will receive.
Thomas is one of only 34 educators across the nation to receive this honor this year and the sole recipient from Arizona. Milken Educators are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. Holding back emotion, Thomas thanked his staff, “I steer the ship, but you power it,” he said.
More information about Thomas and the award can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/timothy-thomas. Photos and a video of the award reveal can also be found on the website.