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News Release - Colorado Springs teacher wins prestigious Milken Award

Dec. 19, 2018

Colorado Springs teacher wins prestigious Milken Award 

Second grade teacher at Soaring Eagles Elementary helps learning take flight

COLORADO SPRINGS - Second-grade teacher Sarah Szymanski won the $25,000 Milken Award today in a surprise ceremony at Soaring Eagles Elementary School that was attended by Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken and Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes.

Szymanski is the only Milken Educator Award winner from Colorado this year and is among up to 40 honorees around the country who will receive the national recognition during the 2018-19 school year.
"Our nation's future is directly tied to great teachers like Sarah Szymanski," Milken said. "She knows that every student deserves a quality education and understands the challenges they face on a daily basis. By targeting their individual strengths and giving them the tools to tackle any problem that may arise, she ensures their success—and ours as well."

Commissioner Anthes echoed the thoughts, saying, “Szymanski serves as an advocate for both her students and her colleagues. She is dedicated to improving her practice as an educator, and at the same time she goes out of her way to mentor her fellow teachers and encourage them to be their very best. She is an asset in her school, district and community, and we congratulate her on this well-deserved award.”

Harrison School District Chief Operating Officer Dr. Wendy Birhanzel said “Harrison School District is honored that Milken has selected Sarah Szymanski for this award. She is a testament to excellence in and out of the classroom. Her content knowledge and curriculum expertise make her a sought-after resource in our district. Sarah is driven to ensure all of her students succeed and believe she cares about them."

Szymanski holds high expectations for her students as learners and citizens. They outperform district averages in all areas, and the school has been named both a National Blue Ribbon School and a National Title I Distinguished School. 

Szymanski’s service on school and district committees includes positions on the Math Collaborators, Effectiveness and Results and building leadership teams. She goes above and beyond for her community, mentoring student teachers and first-year educators and tutoring students during her lunch hour, planning periods and after school. Known to build strong relationships with families, she also works with parents to help them understand the concepts their children are learning in class. 

More information about Szymanski, plus links to photos and a video from today’s assembly, can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website.

Milken Educators are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. In addition to the $25,000 prize and public recognition, Szymanski’s honor includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,700 top teachers, principals and specialists dedicated to strengthening education.

To get regular updates on the surprise Milken Educator Award events, follow and use the #MilkenAward hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Watch videos from the Milken Educator Awards tour on YouTube.
For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit or call MFF at (310) 570-4772.