Saco teacher surprised with Milken Educator Award and $25,000 in cash

Michaela Lamarre is the only teacher to win the prestigious prize in Maine

Watch a video from the notification assembly here.

SACO — Michaela Lamarre, an eighth-grade science teacher, was caught off-guard when, in front of an enthusiastic school-wide assembly at Saco Middle School, she was surprised with a Milken Educator Award and a $25,000 check this morning.

Michaela Lamarre  in her classroom following the Milken Educator Award notification
Michaela Lamarre in her classroom following the Milken Educator Award notification

Lamarre is the only teacher in Maine this season to win the award, and among up to only 40 educators nationally who will receive the prestigious honor during the Milken Family Foundation’s coast-to-coast tour. The foundation has been rewarding outstanding elementary and secondary educators with the award since 1987.

In a school gym filled with cheering students, respected colleagues, distinguished officials, and the media, Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, and Acting Education Commissioner Dr. William Beardsley presented Michaela Lamarre with the distinctive navy blue envelope during the event.

Acting Education Commissioner Dr. Bill Beardsley congratulates Ms. Lamarre
Acting Education Commissioner Dr. Bill Beardsley congratulates Ms. Lamarre

In his congratulatory remarks, Beardsley said, “An honor from the Milken Family Foundation is symbolic of Ms. Lamarre’s role and passion for education. Through innovative ideas and teaching practices, Ms. Lamarre enriches students’ learning every day while serving as a role model for her peers. Congratulations Ms. Lamarre on behalf of the State of Maine and thank you for your dedication and commitment.”

“Michaela is always on top of her game,” said Foley. “She is a good example of the kind of teacher who has a firm grasp of content knowledge and can lead other science teachers through curriculum mapping of national science standards using her natural leadership abilities. Her motivation and integrity shine thoroughly for all to see. We are proud to have her join our team of Milken Educators.”

In her 12th year of teaching, Lamarre researches the most engaging approaches, is technologically savvy, and addresses not only the academic needs of her students, but the social and emotional as well. Parents ask for her as the teacher for their children. She is adept at fostering critical thinking in her students by always asking them why and to explain their answers. She was among a group of teachers who created an after-school opportunity for students to attend a remote operated underwater vehicle (ROV) demo in the community. This inspired students to successfully build their own robots.

Ms. Lamarre celebrates with several of Maine's veteran Milken Educators
Ms. Lamarre celebrates with several of Maine’s veteran Milken Educators

Always on top of her game, the STEM-loving teacher is known to go above and beyond her job and is considered a “go-to” science person among the teachers at Saco Middle School. Lamarre is personable, approachable and her knowledge and work ethic speak volumes. Her attention to detail, precision and perseverance are evident in all she does. Thanks to her lead and guidance, the school already has the Next Generation Science Standards incorporated into their curriculum.

Lamarre received a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, science, from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2004 and a Master of Education in educational leadership from the University of New England in 2010.

The Milken Educator Awards program has been described as “the Oscars of teaching” by Teacher magazine. Recipients are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. Many have gone on to earn advanced degrees and be placed in prominent posts and on state and national education committees. Alternating yearly between elementary and secondary educators, the awards are sourced through each participating state department of education, which appoints an independent blue ribbon committee to confidentially review candidates for recommendation to MFF.

This year, MFF launched a #MyTeacherRocks Instagram campaign that encourages students to take selfies with their favorite teacher and describe in the caption why their teacher is special. To enter the contest, entrants are asked to follow @MilkenFamilyFdn on Instagram, post their selfie to their individual account and use the #MyTeacherRocks and #MilkenAward hashtags. The three photos with the most “likes” will be selected in February and April 2016. The first winner was selected in November 2015.

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

The Milken Educator Awards tour is on social media at https://instagram.com/milkenfamilyfdn; www.facebook.com/milkeneducatorawards; www.twitter.com/milken; and www.youtube.com/milkenaward.

The Milken Educator Awards, created by the Milken Family Foundation, were launched in 1987. The Awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.

For more information contact, Jennifer Pooler at jennifer.pooler@maine.gov; 215-0381 or Ana Beatriz Cholo at acholo@mff.org; (312) 927-4845.

-END-