Wilson County teacher receives Milken Educator Award

Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn visited two local schools Thursday to help give two teachers a surprise of a lifetime.
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 12:26 PM CDT
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MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WSMV) - Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn visited two local schools Thursday to help give two teachers a surprise of a lifetime.

In Mt. Juliet the Green Hill High school gym was packed with students as they waited patiently for what they thought would be a small assembly about literacy. It wasn’t until Commissioner Schwinn introduced Dr. Jane Foley who shared some exciting news.

During an assembly meeting in Mt. Juliet Middle School’s gymnasium, Governor Lee recognized Tyler Hallstedt, and announced he has received the Milken Educator Award, which is accompanied by a $25,000 cash prize for his hard work in the classroom.

“I knew something was up at some point and time, but I had no idea it would be today, and I had no idea it was anything like this,” explained Hallstedt.

The national award is hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching.” Hallstedt makes history as the first in Wilson County Schools to receive this award. He joins more than 60 others across the country who will receive the honor during the 2021-2022 school year.

“Engagement and enthusiasm are evident in Tyler Hallstedt’s classroom. Tyler not only brings history to life for his students, but also deepens their understanding as productive citizens,” said Dr. Foley, who herself is a Milken Educator from Indiana’s 1994 class. “His ability to guide higher-order thinking and make connections across the curriculum has served him well as a leader in professional learning at the school and district levels. I congratulate Tyler and welcome him into the national Milken Educator Network of excellence.”

Governor Lee, Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn and Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley were on hand to present Hallstedt with the award and a large check.

This is always such a fun event because it’s a surprise. Everyone thinks it’s going to be about one thing and it ends up being about celebrating teachers. I wish we had more events like these. We know our teachers work so hard. I am from a family of teachers. Being able to take a moment in front of students and really celebrate the profession is a really wonderful experience for everybody,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn.

In addition to the cash prize, Hallstedt will receive a paid trip to Los Angeles for a forum where other honorees will be in attendance.

I’m going to take my teaching team out for some steaks, and I will have to get with the Milken team to see what this is all about,” said Hallstedt.

The Governor and Commissioner Schwinn also made a stop in Murfreesboro where Raeven Brooks of Black Fox Elementary was named as another award winner.

The Milken Educator Awards initiative has no formal nomination or application process but rather employs a confidential selection process for each candidate. The most exceptional candidates are then recommended for the award, with the final vote made by the Milken Family Foundation.

The cash award is unrestricted, and the recipient can use the funds for whatever purpose he/she chooses.

For more on Tyler Hallstedt and the award, you can visit here.

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