A central Indiana math teacher was surprised Tuesday with a national award that honors exceptional teachers.
Angela Fowler of Grassy Creek Elementary School in Greenwood received the award during a school assembly that she believed should encourage reading. Instead, Fowler was announced as Indiana’s recipient of the Milken Educator Award, which comes with an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000.
Fowler said in a short impromptu speech that she loves teaching math and that the school and Clark-Pleasant Community School Corp. feel like at home. She asked the students to raise their hands when they were in their class.
“You are the reason I do this every day. Even on those days you wake up and you’re pretty tough,” she said. “But you are the reason I come to school, whenever I struggle and have some rough days I see your faces and I remember why I do what I do.”
Fowler is one of up to 40 elementary school teachers across the country to be recognized by the Milken Family Foundation in the 2022-23 school year.
Fowler was chosen for her ability to help students learn math concepts and inclusion in the classroom. Last year, the number of Fowler students mastering math in fourth grade rose from 8 percent at the beginning of the year to 54 percent at the end.
Often referred to as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the award recognizes early- to middle-aged educators across the country. There is no formal recommendation or application, but the recipients are selected in a confidential process. Winners will receive personalized coaching for guidance and guidance. The Milken Family Foundation began awarding the prize in 1987.
“Exceptional educators engage their students through creativity and leadership, and Angela Fowler embodies those qualities in her classroom every day,” said Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and 1994 Indiana Milken Educator. “Their care and compassion create an environment where every student feels welcome, valued and motivated to learn.”
The Milken Family Foundation has invested more than $140 million to fund the Milken Educator Awards to motivate outstanding teachers and enable them to grow professionally.